Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Last Apprentice - Halloween Read

Imagine that you are the only thing that stands between civilization and the things that go bump in the night. You alone must protect friends, family, and strangers from evil spirits such as witches, banes, and boggarts. Thomas Ward is the Spook's Apprentice and his job is to help the Spook defeat these creatures. Not only is Thomas the Spook's Apprentice, but he is also The Last Apprentice. For years, Old Gregory has protected the County from evil, but his time is passing and he needs to find the next Spook. Twenty-nine apprentices have tried and failed. Thomas is the last hope.

This is a great series to read for Halloween. Though written for middle readers, these books make delightfully scary reads for older audiences as well. The first in this series by Joseph Delaney is Revenge of the Witch, followed by Curse of the Bane and Night of the Soul Stealer. Delaney has quite a following in the UK but this series is still fairly new to the U.S. Another really cool thing about these books is the beautiful chapter art. Each chapter is decorated with a wood-cut type drawing. The page is black with a white outline depicting a spooky scene. I also found this great review of the series over at Bookmoot.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Starred Review and A CONTEST to win Undercover by Beth Kephart!!

A few months ago, I reviewed a new book called Undercover by Beth Kephart. I am ecstatic to announce that it recently received a starred review in Publishers Weekly magazine (Oct 1st issue)! Here's some highlights from the review:
Neatly balancing action and contemplation, Kephart offers a plethora of images, ideas about literature and even some well-known poems along with a plot that will speak to many teens.
In honor of this rave review, I'm holding a contest for a copy of Undercover. I've never held a contest before so I'm super excited about this. In fact, I'm so excited that I'm also throwing in a mini "word journal" from Paperblanks. (See my earlier review of Undercover for an explanation of the word journal.)
Just leave me a comment or send an email to emsbookshelf (at) gmail (dot) com, and you'll be entered to win. I'll draw a name from a hat on October 30th. Think of it as a Halloween present!

Happy Reading!

p.s. Beth recently started her own blog and she's been filling it with wonderful poems, pictures, and thoughts about the writing process. Make sure to check it out!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Take a Book to the Movies

Lately, it seems like there are tons of movies in theaters that are based on books. (If you haven't seen Stardust, you should go this weekend - it's great). But have you ever thought about the books that are displayed in the movie? The books on the shelf in a character's bedroom? Or the book that the main character is reading on the subway? I've been reading a lot lately about books in movies and am sad to say that I've never really noticed which books show up in movies! Now I'll have to start paying attention.
Superfast Reader recently posted about some books in movies and TV shows. She also had this really cool job where she got to pick out a library for a movie set! Please, sign me up for that job! :-) She also mentions this fun article from the New Yorker Magazine. It's hard enough picking out books for myself - imagine picking out books for hundreds of actors!
Oh, and speaking of movies based on books, here's a hilarious video that Alyssa over at The Shady Glade made...it's the movie we've all been waiting for, Harry Potter meets Pride & Prejudice.
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher Book Review

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
(Razorbill, Hardcover)

This book isn't out until October 18th but I just had to post on it right away. Why? Because this is absolutely my favorite book of the year. Put it on your wishlist now and when you get it, be prepared to sit down and read it cover to cover. Here's the premise...Clay Jensen returns home from school one day and finds a package of 13 tapes on his front door step. Only, the tapes are from a girl in his class that committed suicide.

Here's a short excerpt to show you what a great writer Jay is (and I'm paraphrasing)...
"Hello, boys and girls. Hannah Baker here. Live and in stereo. I hope you're ready, because I'm about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you're listening to these tapes, you're one of the reasons why. I'm not saying which tape brings you into the story. But fear not, if you received this lovely little box, your name will pop up...I promise. Now, why would a dead girl lie?"

Each of the 13 tapes tells the story of one person and how they contributed to Hannah's suicidal state of mind. This is a story of Hannah, but also of Clay who is the narrator. This book sat on my bookshelf for months and I kept thinking, oh, I don't want to read a depressing book right now. But I promise, this book isn't the average dying-teen book. It's so much more. It's the story of how one boy copes with the death of a girl he liked. And it's the story of how each action affects someone else. And it's the story of how brutal high school can be. And it's the story of the importance of connections, how tenuous they can be and how strong they can be. I haven't read a book that was so riveting and thought-provoking in years. I know you can't judge a book by it's cover, but in this case, it really captures the tone of the novel.