Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by I am a Reader Not a Writer and Mary from Bookhounds.

I am giving away the following books to one winner!  Just fill out the form below to enter and don't forget to check out all the other wonderful blogs participating in this hop by looking at the linky below.


Review - The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda by Tom Angelberger (4/5 stars)

Reading Level: Middle Grade
Genre: Fiction
Size: 160 pages
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: March 1, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0810984257
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Origami Yoda series
Source: Swapped through paperbackswap.com
Rating: 4/5 stars

I have been wanting to read this book for some time and finally got around to it. This book does an absolutely wonderful job of portraying the politics of sixth grade and some of the strangeness that goes with it all.

Tommy has an acquaintance (friend?) Dwight who is a total loser. Dwight gives advice to people with a origami puppet of Yoda that he wears on his finger. The odd thing is that origami Yoda gives strangely...almost eerily...excellent advice. How can Dwight be such a loser when his Origami Yoda is so wise? Through a series of case studies provided by his classmates (and goofy pictures provided by one of Tommy’s friends) we get to see the affect of Yoda’s advice on the sixth grade class.

This book is definitely targeted at middle grade boys, so I am not the target audience at all. Still I enjoyed the book and thought it was cleverly put together. It does give great insight into sixth grade politics and the story is strangely compelling as we follow along and try to figure out what is up with this Origami Yoda.

The characters are all very realistic, which at times doesn’t make them all that easy to like. Still they all have good and bad aspects to their personalities and are all very easy to relate too. Tommy is on the fringes of the crowd, he is kind of a geek but he’s not as bad off as Dwight is.

Dwight is fascinating, he give super wise advice through his finger puppet Yoda, but he himself is strange, abrasive and incredibly tough to get along with. You keep wondering what’s going on in his head.

The story is compelled forward by a common and a not so common theme. The common one is will Tommy get the girl he’s dreaming of? The not so common one is how does this Origami Yoda give such great advice?

The author does an excellent job of giving the stories by different kids individual personalities; you can tell each Yoda story is being told by a different kid with a unique voice. The pictures are amusing and there is a lot of middle grade humor here.

The book touches on a number of great topics (friendship, being different, general school social structure) without ever taking itself too seriously.

The book is well written and engaging. It didn’t blow me away, but I think that is partly because I wasn’t the intended age group. Still I did find it to be a quick and fun read. The book also has instructions on making an origami Yoda in the back, which was fun.

Overall a fun and well done coming-of-age type story. It is done in a creative way; basically a number of stories about the Origami Yoda are provided by the kids in Tommy’s class. There is a lot of humor, yet the story touches on serious issues as well. This would be a great read for a middle grade boy; young adults and older will find it amusing and find themselves thinking about all the weirdos in their sixth grade class. I will definitely pick up Darth Paper Strikes Back to read at some point.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge
- TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Monday, July 30, 2012

Graphic Novel Review - The Dark Ages (Fables, Book 12) by Bill Willingham (5/5 stars)

Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Graphic Novel/UrbanFantasy
Size: 192 pages
Publisher: Vertigo
Release Date: August 18, 2009
ISBN-13: 978-1401223168
Stand Alone or Series: 11th book in the Fables series
Source: Gift
Rating: 5/5 stars

This is the twelfth book in the Fables series. I think it was one of the darkest books yet in the Fables series, hence the name is very appropriate. It was a painful read at points, but a necessary one.

The book starts with a short installment where Gepetto is installed in Fabletown and showed around by his son Pinocchio. The next few chapters focus on picking up the pieces after fighting the Adversary, you learn who is alive and who is dead or dying. We also get to follow the adventures of two rogues named Freddy and Mouse who unknowingly release an enormous evil into the Homelands.

This was another excellent, if painful at times, Fables. Some of the things that happen in here will tear at your heart. Boy Blue is still struggling with the injury he received in the battle. Rose Red is depressed because she realizes she has feelings for him. Not to mention the Fables just don’t get a break when a huge evil is released into their world.

There is also a lot going on with trying to reinstate the Fables into their various Homelands. The Homelands are a mess since there is no leadership there. You have Fables that were born in America and want to choose their Homeland and you have people raiding the Homelands for treasure...as I said an absolute mess.

It is a great installment and love where the story is going. I am curious to see how the Fables will combat this latest evil challenge. The illustration was in keeping with previous novels. I wasn’t all that keen on the illustration for the first part with Pinocchio, it was too simple, the rest of the installments were very well done though.

Overall an excellent installment in the Fables series. I was a bit worried after the last book what the new storyline would be; but Willingham did an excellent job of dealing with the aftermath of the war and in addition started a new and engaging storyline. This whole series is highly recommended to fans of urban fantasy and/or fairy tale retellings.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Graphic Novel Challenge
- Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge
- TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Sunday, July 29, 2012

7/29/12 - Looking to the Week Ahead

Hi Guys...here what I have planned for the upcoming week. Lots of book reviews like usual and one Contest!

I will be reviewing the 12th book in the Fables series, The Dark Ages.  Let's see what happens to all of our favorite Fables characters after the war with the Adversary.

I've been wanting to read the Case of the Origami Yoda forever, so finally I will post the review on Tuesday.  It was a fun and quirky little book, that I am assure middle grade boys especially will love.

Today I will have an audiobook review of the 3rd book in the Downside Ghosts series by Stacia Kane, City of Ghosts.  This was the best book in the series yet!  Today is also the start of the Summer Giveaway Hop so make sure to stop by for that :-)

Today I review the stunning conclusion to Jeri Smith-Ready's Shade trilogy.  It was a great conclusion to the series and features such an interesting and creative world!

Finally on Friday I will be reviewing Theft of Swords by Michael Sullivan.  I have had this book to read forever and was happy to finally get around to reading it.  It has been a very well done and humorous high fantasy novel.  I am really enjoying it.

So that's the plan for this coming week! Hope you guys have a great week of reading and enjoy the reviews.

Showcase Sunday and Mailbox Monday - 7/30/12

Hello and welcome to Showcase Sunday. Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.
Mailbox Monday can be found at: The Printed Page

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

This week I got two books for review.  You can see them below.  Yes, I already got a finished copy of God Save the Queen for my birthday...so the one below is actually a review copy from librarything's Early Reviewer Program.  The Broken Lands I got from the Amazon Vine program.

No video this week as I am out camping!  Hope that you all got some wonderful books this week and have a great week of reading ahead of you.

For Review:

Saturday, July 28, 2012