Friday, August 22, 2008

The seer of shadows by Avi

An eerie ghost story set in New York City, in 1872, this chilling look at the early practice of photography will raise goosebumps and cause you to look over your shoulder at dark corners.

Fourteen-year-old Horace Carpetine has been apprenticed to an unknown photographer who intends to get rich from society portraits, and cheerfully concocts an elaborate scam to do so. Horace has been raised to approach things scientifically, and is more puzzled than scared when his manipulated photographs reveal haunting likenesses of a dead girl, Eleanora. Strange happenings and the discovery that Eleanora's death may not have been innocent convince Horace that her ghost has returned for a frightening revenge.

A deliciously scary, but poignant ghost story, which will stay with you long after you finish the book.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The entertainer and the dybbuk by Sid Fleischman

Shortly after World War II, in Vienna, Austria, an American soldier seeks work as a wandering ventriloquist. The Great Freddie, as he is known, is not a very good ventriloquist, for he can’t even talk without moving his lips. But things change quickly when, one dark night, his wooden dummy is possessed by a dybbuk, a Jewish spirit, who in real life was twelve-year-old Holocaust victim Avrom Amos. Avrom is a smart-alecky ghost and he quickly takes over the Great Freddie’s act, telling jokes and forcing changes to the act and to Freddie himself. Soon Freddie is wildly famous, and audiences crowd in to see him and the dummy. But it quickly becomes clear that Avrom has a deeper purpose than just entertaining the war-wearied populations, as he seeks revenge on the Nazi officer who killed countless Jewish children, including himself.

This book is a very quick read, but will leave you chilled and stunned. A one-of-a-kind book, for sure.

Alanna : the first adventure by Tamora Pierce

Have you ever dreamed of being a warrior?
Alanna had, and she certainly never wanted to become the sorceress her noble father expects her to be. But in Tortall, her land to protect, women can't become knights or warriors. Thom, her twin brother, has been ordered to become a knight even though he badly wants to become a sorcerer.
So when Lord Alan decides it is time to send the twins off to school, the twins secretly decide to switch places with each other. Alanna, disguised as a boy, goes off to learn to be a knight's page, while Thom disguises himself as a girl and goes off to the convent.
Both twins have the Gift, but neither could imagine the adventure, the danger and the magic which awaits them as they battle the evil forces that fight to overpower the good and noble kingdom of Tortall.

This is the first book in a thrilling four-book series called the Song of the Lioness. Author Tamora Pierce has written several other multi-book series set in the same imaginary country and time period full of fascinating characters that cross between the series. If you liked The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley or you are a fan of Hermione Granger in Harry Potter, these books are for you!