Fables Vol. 17: Inherit the Wind by Bill Willingham

Posted by on Jan 13, 2017 in 2017, 4.5 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Comics | 2 comments

Fables, Vol. 17: Inherit the Wind by Bill WillinghamFables Vol. 17: Inherit the Wind by Bill Willingham with art by Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, et al.

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #17 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 144
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 17 is a compilation of issues 108-113 of the comic series
From the back cover:

And a child shall lead them

The fearsome Mister Dark is dead, killed in a kamikaze attack by the only entity even colder than himself: The North Wind, King of the Frozen Wastes, Ruler of the Cardinal Winds — and Bigby Wolf’s deadbeat dad.

Now, with Bigby having renounced any claim to the throne, one of his cubs must take up the crown — and he and his wife Snow White must watch as the North Wind’s servants subject their children to a series of trials to determine who will reign supreme.

Meanwhile, winds of change are blowing in other lands as well: the once-winged monkey Bufkin’s impromptu revolution against the new ruler of the Pan Ozian Empire is gaining unexpected allies; Rose Red’s reconnaissance team finds good tidings at the Farm, just in time for Christmas; and in Castle Dark the former Nurse Spratt waits for the return of the Fables with bated breath — and sharpened blade.

My Thoughts:
I’m glad to move on from Mr. Dark. This volume has a couple of major story lines. I really enjoyed the one that focused on Bigby Wolf and Snow White’s children. One of them will take over in their grandfather’s place as the king of the North Wind. The children are subjected to a series of tests to determine which of them is the rightful heir. It’s a bit odd and fun but also a tad bit dangerous.

The second major story involved Bufkin and his crew traveling through Oz. I usually enjoy Bufkins adventures but this time around it just didn’t click with me for some reason. It was okay but I didn’t enjoy those parts of the book as much as I did the rest.

In addition, there are a couple of shorter stories. I really enjoyed Rose Red’s version of A Christmas Carol.

The artwork throughout was wonderful. The majority is by Mark Buckingham. He’s done most of the Fables series and I always enjoy his work The final issue is done by several artists and the variety of styles works well with the series of short tales that are not part of the main ongoing story line.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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As You Wish by Cary Elwes – Audio Edition

Posted by on Dec 8, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Audio, Book Review | 2 comments

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden narrated by Cary Elwes and others

Genre: Memoir
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 7 hours, 1 minutes
Narrated by: Cary Elwes, Christopher Guest, Carol Kane, Norman Lear, Rob Reiner, Wallace Shawn , Robin Wright, Billy Crystal, and Danny Burnstein
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets and backstage stories.

With a foreword by Rob Reiner, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.

My Thoughts:
This one is partially Trish’s fault. She was talking on twitter about how much she was enjoying this audiobook. As a huge fan of the movie The Princess Bride that was just the minor little nudge I needed to purchase this,

I have lost count of how many times I have seen the movie and quotes from it are a routine part of our conversation. Hearing Cary Elwes talk about his experiences during the making of the movie is an absolute delight.

He narrates most of it but there are bits and pieces here and there where his co-stars, Rob Reiner, Bill Goldman and others involved in the movie added their comments to his book. Many of these people narrate their own comments. Danny Burnstein narrates for others.

I was only a few chapters into the book when I insisted that The Hubster listen to this foo. I downloaded it to his phone and he has been enjoying it just as much as I did. I cannot wait for him to finish the book so that we can watch the movie again.

There are lots of wonderful stories about the making of the movie and Elwes tells these stories wonderfully. I’m not going to spill a lot of what he shares but I will say that Andre the Giant was clearly loved by all the cast. Billy Crystal is a nightmare when you must keep from laughing. Robin Wright’s first day on the film involved her dress catching on fire. Elwes and Mandy Patinkin did all the sword fighting themselves and spent months practicing and learning from experts.

If you are a fan of the movie, then you will enjoy this book and I highly recommend the audio edition.
Check out this video on the Simon & Schuster website.

Rating
4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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Cinderella: Fables are Forever by Chris Roberson

Posted by on Nov 15, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Chris Roberson, Comics | 0 comments

Cinderella: Fables are Forever by Chris Roberson with art by Shawn McManus
Cinderella: Fables are Forever by Chris Roberson with art by Shawn McManus

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #2 in the Fables Cinderella spinoff series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 160
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume is a compilation of issues 1-6 of the comic series and Fables #51
From the back cover:

Fashionsita, socialite—spy?

Hey, if the shoe fits…

She poses as a haughty socialite in glass stilettos by day—and okay, sometimes by night. But Cinderella is actually Fabletown’s master spy. Tasked with doing jobs too dirty and deadly for the average Fable, Cindy’s faced down dangers from a dozen worlds and lived to tell the tales (over cocktails in a hot tub, if you’re lucky).

But every secret agent has one annoyingly ruthless archnemesis, and Cindy is no exception. Back in the Big ’80s, Cindy encountered her dark mirror, a rogue American Fable, who was in league with the mysterious Shadow Fabletown. Cindy thought she’d destroyed her rival years ago. But when a powerful magician turns up dead and another seeks her help, Cindy’s hunt for her old enemy begins anew.

From the frigid back alleys of Russia to the steaming desert, Cindy will follow the clues down the blood-flecked yellow brick road and risk everything she’s got—including her secret identity—to solve the crime and finally get revenge on Sliver Slipper.

My Thoughts:
Cinderella and her secret work as a spy has long been one of my favorite parts of the Fables series. I’m glad she got her own spinoff series even though it’s only two trade paperback volumes worth.

As with the first Cinderella volume the title is a play on a James Bond movie title. Some of Cindy’s adventures are much like the Bond stories. I think Cindy could take James Bond though.

The current case finds Cindy taking on an old nemesis she thought was dead. Through flashbacks the history of their meeting and confrontations over the years.

It’s a fun spy story with lots of winks and nods to the spy movie genre.

The final volume is a repeat of a previous issue in the Fables series featuring one of Cinderella’s spy missions. It was fun to revisit.

Roberson does a good job of adding to the fables world created by Bill Willingham.

The art by Shawn McManus is bold and interesting and conveys the actions well. The flashbacks have a bit of a sepia tone to them to distinguish them from the bolder colors of the current story.

If you haven’t explored the world of Fables you should.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Fables Vol. 16: Super Team by Bill Willingham

Posted by on Nov 11, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Comics, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Fables Vol. 16: Super Team by Bill Willingham
Fables Vol. 16: Super Team by Bill Willingham with art by Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, et al.

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #16 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 160
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 16 is a compilation of issues 101-107 of the comic series
From the back cover:

This Looks Like A Job For… The Super Fables!

Evil stalks the borders of Haven! Fed by fear and driven by darkness, Mister Dark has risen, more powerful than ever! Soon, the Fables’ defense will fall, and the day of doom will be upon them!

But lo, there shall come… the F-Men!

Assembled by the great and powerful Ozma and the wise and wheelchair-bound Pinoccho (don’t worry, his legs work fine — he just wants to look the part), these fabulous Fables will combine their powers to form a team-up to end all team-ups!

Every super-heroic personality will be represented: Big strong guys! Guys in cool armor! Miniature people who can bounce around inside the bad guy’s ear canal! That one girl who can fly! Even a roguish, hairy anti-hero with claws: Bigby Wolf himself! Together, they will overcome their fear and defeat Mister Dark once and for all!

Or maybe they’ll all die horribly within seconds. What do you think this is, a super-hero comic.

My Thoughts:
I’ll confess. I have been ready for the Mr. Dark story to be over for a couple of volumes. This time the Fables are making their last stand. Again.

The difference this time is that they’re approaching it a little differently. Avengers style before Marvel made the movie. Whether they’re successful or not I won’t say but it was an adventure. There were scary parts and there were funny parts and there were plenty of riffs on the superhero comic genre.

Bigby Wolf and his father The North Wind are forced to face their past and their fractured relationship. It was tense but again, I’m not spilling the outcome.

The first issue was unrelated to the main story but might be setting up some new places and characters for a future storyline. I always enjoy stories with Bufkin the formerly flying monkey.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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March: Book Three by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin

Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Book Review, Graphic Novel | 2 comments

March: Book Three by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin with art by Nate PowellMarch: Book Three by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin with art by Nate Powell

Format: Paperback, Graphic Novel
Series: #3 in the March series
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 250
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

By Fall 1963, the Civil Rights Movement is an undeniable keystone of the national conversation, and as chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, John Lewis is right in the thick of it. With the stakes continuing to rise, white supremacists intensify their opposition through government obstruction and civilian terrorist attacks, a supportive president is assassinated, and African-Americans across the South are still blatantly prohibited from voting. To carry out their nonviolent revolution, Lewis and an army of young activists launch a series of innovative projects, including the Freedom Vote, Mississippi Freedom Summer, and a pitched battle for the soul of the Democratic Party waged live on national television. But strategic disputes are deepening within the movement, even as 25-year-old John Lewis heads to Alabama to risk everything in a historic showdown that will shock the world.

My Thoughts:
I cannot recommend this trilogy enough. Even if graphic novels are not something you routinely read I absolutely encourage you to stretch your comfort zone a bit and give it a try. It’s an important story well worth reading.

This is an extremely well done story of the early 1960’s Civil Rights Movement told by one of its key leaders. John Lewis is now a congressman and his story is told with intermissions of him attending Barack Obama’s inauguration. The majority of the story in this volume takes place between the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four little girls and the 1965 Freedom March from Selma to Montgomery.

It’s tough to read at times but given the increasingly vocal racism that has permeated this year’s election season it’s a timely read right now.

The artwork is wonderful. It’s all black and white drawings but the emotions are well portrayed. The violence is a major part of this history and while it’s clearly portrayed enough to be unsettling it’s never too graphic (unlike the real events).

If you have kids this is an excellent nonfiction series in a very accessible format to teach them about the battle for the right to vote.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson – Audio Edition

Posted by on Oct 7, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Craig Johnson | 0 comments

An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson - Audio Edition
An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson narrated by George Guidall

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #12 in the Walt Longmire series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2016
Length: 7 hours, 50 minutes
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

In the 12th novel in the New York Times best-selling Longmire series, Walt, Henry, and Vic discover much more than they bargained for when they are called in to investigate a hit-and-run accident near Devils Tower involving a young motorcyclist.

In the midst of the largest motorcycle rally in the world, a young biker is run off the road and ends up in critical condition. When Sheriff Walt Longmire and his good friend, Henry Standing Bear, are called to Hulett, Wyoming – the nearest town to America’s first national monument, Devils Tower – to investigate, things start getting complicated. As competing biker gangs; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; a military-grade vehicle donated to the tiny local police force by a wealthy entrepreneur; and Lola, the real-life femme fatale and namesake for Henry’s ’59 Thunderbird (and, by extension, Walt’s granddaughter) come into play, it rapidly becomes clear that there is more to get to the bottom of at this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally than a bike accident. After all, in the words of Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Adventures of Sherlock Holmes the Bear won’t stop quoting, “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact”.

My Thoughts:
Clearly I love this series since I’m still eagerly anticipating the next book after reading the twelfth. I absolutely prefer the audio editions too. I’ve read some of the short stories in print but George Guidall’s narration is so excellent that print is always my second choice.

I had preordered this and when I finished my previous audiobook a couple of days before the release date I didn’t start another one. I wanted to be able to start this the day it was available.

Once again the action takes place away from Walt’s home town but with Henry, Dog, and later Vic on the scene there’s enough of the usual cast to make it enjoyable.

I loved that we finally got to meet the Lola who was the inspiration for the name of Henry’s car. It was also nice to get a bit more of Henry’s history.

While the mystery gets a little complicated there is plenty of humor along the way.

When I saw Craig Johnson at Powell’s he mentioned that the car chase in this one was the first he’d ever written.

As always with this series I highly recommend it and if audiobooks are your thing you should definitely try that route.

Rating
4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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