Friday, April 19, 2013

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

In this funny, uncannily wise portrait of the dynamics of a sixth-grade class and of the greatness that sometimes comes in unlikely packages, Dwight, a loser, talks to his classmates via an origami finger puppet of Yoda. If that weren’t strange enough, the puppet is uncannily wise and prescient. Origami Yoda predicts the date of a pop quiz, guesses who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and saves a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight’s classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, he assembles the case file that forms this novel.
My thoughts:
This book was a fun, easy read that gets young readers engaged and laughing while showing social interactions.  Middle school can be a scary time, transitioning to being more independent and having more chances to embarrass yourself, like school dances, and can cause quite a bit anxiety.  I liked how these boys handle it with the help of a finger puppet that may, or may not, have magical powers.  Each chapter in this case file is written or recorded by different students in the same middle school and they each have their own, distinct voice.
I checked both the hardcover and the audio book out of the library, I read through the book on my own and then played the audio in the car for my children.  My older two have already read it on their own as well. It is fun to hear them laughing along with the story and repeating silly lines.  It reminds me a bit of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, but in a good way.  I think that it is great that it is mostly told from a male perspective as I've found it can sometimes be harder to keep boys interested in reading for fun.  It is amusing enough that adults aren't going to bored either!

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810984257
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Series: Origami Yoda Series , #1
  • Pages: 141

Meet the Author

Tom Angleberger
Applying for a job as a newspaper artist, Tom Angleberger was mistakenly assigned to cover local government meetings. Fifteen years and countless town council meetings later, he is still writing instead of drawing, currently as a columnist for the Roanoke Times in Roanoke, Virginia. He began work on his first book while in middle school. Tom is married to author-illustrator Cece Bell. They live in Christianburg, Virginia.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Angels at the Table by Debbie Macomber

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

In this joyous and whimsical holiday novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber rings in the season with laughs, love, and a charming dose of angelic intervention.

Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy know that an angel’s work is never done, especially not during such a wondrous time as New Year’s Eve. With an apprentice angel, Will, under their wings, they descend upon Times Square in New York City eager to join in the festivities. And when Will spies two lonely strangers in the crowd, he decides midnight is the perfect time to lend a heavenly helping hand.      

Lucie Farrara and Aren Fairchild meet after bumping into each other—seemingly by accident—in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. They immediately hit it off and find they have a lot in common: Lucie is a burgeoning chef and Aren is a respected food critic. But just as quickly as they’re brought together, another twist of fate tears them apart, leaving Lucie and Aren with no way to reconnect.

A year later, Lucie is the head chef of an acclaimed new restaurant and Aren is a successful columnist for a major New York newspaper. For all the time that’s passed, the two have not forgotten their one serendipitous evening—and neither have Shirley, Goodness, Mercy, and Will. To reunite the young couple, the angels cook up a brilliant plan: mix true love, a second chance, and a generous sprinkle of mischief to create an unforgettable Christmas miracle.
My thoughts:
A little bit Sleepless in Seattle or an Affair to Remember and a little bit of angelic intervention leaves Lucie and Aren pushed together and then pulled apart.  When they do mange to cross paths again, this old trio, who is now a quartet, manage to make their usual mischief to make things anything but simple.  Macomber raises issues such as, does everything happen for a reason?  Is God behind the people you meet each day?  How much does our own free will help and how much does it hinder?
I wish I had made the time for this book at Christmas time, but I didn't get around to reading it until last month.  Still a fun story, but I think the spirit of the season would have made it all the more compelling.  My son told me something sweet last week, he said his friend from school told him that when you are looking into the sun and it blinds you a little it is just and angel taking your picture.  I guess his friend read or was read a book that said this and I thought that was such a nice thought, that angels are always looking out for you and watching.  Maybe they are!

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345528872
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/23/2012
  • Pages: 240

Meet the Author

Debbie Macomber
Debbie Macomber, the author of A Turn in the Road, 1105 Yakima Street, Hannah’s List, and Twenty Wishes, is a leading voice in women’s fiction. Five of her novels have scored the #1 slot on the New York Times bestseller list, with three debuting at #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly lists. Debbie Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle (2009) and Call Me Mrs. Miracle (2010) were Hallmark Channel’s top-watched movies for the year. This prolific author has more than 160 million copies of her books in print worldwide.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Husband List by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

THE HUSBAND LISTJanet Evanovich So many men, so little time…New York City, 1894. Heiress Caroline Maxwell would like nothing more than to join her brother and his friend, Jack Culhane, on their adventures. While they are off seeing the world, she’s stuck at home, frightening off the list of men her mother hopes will ask for her hand in marriage. Caroline longs for adventure, passion, love, and most of all…Jack Culhane, an unconventional Irish-American bachelor with new money and no title—a completely unacceptable suitor, in the eyes of Caroline’s mother. Can Jack and Caroline find love, against all odds, with danger looming and despite the forces pulling them apart?

My thoughts:
I love reading books by Janet Evanovich and I thought when I picked this one off it was going to be a second in the series that started in the fall with the brewery, but it was set back more than a hundred years while still involving what might be the same brewery.  I love the spunk Evanovich gives to her main characters and how they often get themselves in unexplainable predicaments, but it didn't always feel right in this setting.  Caroline is feisty and independent and unconventional, but at a time when being that unconventional caused a whole lot of problems.

At times this reminded me of The American Heiress which I listened to over the summer, American women who are courted by European royals for their dowries, very unromantic to current standards.  Caroline has made it a habit to ward off suitors one way or anther, until her mother puts her foot down and gets down to business getting her oldest daughter married off.

There are still some funny predicaments, but it just isn't the same watching Stephanie Plum get car after car blown up and the dog doesn't get anywhere near as big a staring role as usual either, I think I missed both of those things.

I can appreciate Evanovich wanting to try something out of her usual, change things up for fun, but the results was a little uneven.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312651329
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 1/8/2013
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320

Meet the Author

Janet  Evanovich
JANET EVANOVICH is the #1 bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum novels, twelve romance novels, the Alexandra Barnaby novels, and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author. She lives in Florida.
Visit Janet Evanovich’s Web site at, or write her at P.O. Box 2829, Naples, FL 34106
DORIEN KELLY lives in Michigan with one or more of her three children, two very spoiled West Highland White Terriers, and a handicapped Coonhound named Bubba. She is an award-winning author and the President of Romance Writers of America.

Monday, April 1, 2013

It's Monday, What are you reading?

I had another slow reading week, as usual I always seem to be reading, but I haven't finished very much this week.  Some audio and some children's books, but nothing too involved.

This week I finished:
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau (audio)
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Still reading:
Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin (audio)
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

What would a day be without books?