Friday, December 20, 2013

The 9 Lives of Alexander Baddenfield

Alexander Baddenfield is the last in a long line of Baddenfields, each one worse than the one before.  This means Alexander is pretty terrible.  The Baddenfields always die young but appropriately.  For example, the Baddenfield trying to hunt wild and endangered animals was trampled to death by them.

The only reason the Baddenfields live as long as they do is the Winterbottoms.  Winterbottoms have be taking care of Baddenfields for as long as anyone can remember, and Alexander and his Winterbottom are no exception.

But Alexander has come up with a new plan to do all the terrible and dangerous things he's ever wanted to do with no consequences.  He just needs to find a mad scientist doctor to take his cat's extra eight lives and transfer them to him!  It's a brilliant plan really.  Shaddenfrood just lays around sleeping and purring all day.  Alexander could be those lives to much better use.

This book is the story of how Alexander stole and used those lives, but beware, this is not some touchy-feely-becoming-a-better-person book.  Alexander is definitely bad to the bitter end.  Make sure you keep reading past "The End" for a glimpse of what will happen in his tenth and final existence!

John Bemelmans Marciano's story is funny, sinister, and disgusting, and Sophie Blackall's illustrations really take this story from bad to worse!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

This is an amazing that all begins with a vacuum cleaner, the Ulysses Super-Suction, Multi-Terrain 2000X to be exact.  When this high powered machine gets loose in the back yard, one unsuspecting squirrel will be changed forever.  That's right, one squirrel will be sucked into the rampaging vacuum and come out with super powers (but very little hair)!

Flora and Ulysses (named after the vacuum) quickly bond, and Flora must do everything in her power to save the super squirrel for arch enemies and evil cats!

But that's not all, their adventures will change Flora forever.  She'll meet new friends, make startling discoveries and maybe discover that she isn't such a hard-hearted cynic after all.

This book was great fun to read, and K. G. Campbell's illustrations and panels are wonderful!  Kate DiCamillo is also the author of Because of Winn-Dixie, and her fans won't be dissappointed.  This is a fun loving book with a heart of gold!

A Little Gift from Princess Buttercup and Me

Here is a little video Princess Buttercup and I made for you.  I hope you enjoy it.  I couldn't get an embed code for it, so just click on the image below to link to the video!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Screaming Staircase

England is beset by ghosts, and they aren't your average chain rattling variety.  The dead refuse to leave the world of the living.  To make matters worse they are only visible to children and only a small number of children at that.  The true danger isn't in the haunting; it's in the ghost touch which is nearly always fatal causing its victims to swell up, turn blue, and die a horribly painful death.

The Problem has led to the rise of Psychic detection agencies staffed by children who are sensitive in some way to the ghosts.  Lockwood and Co. is one such agency staffed by its founder Anthony Lockwood, the slightly disgusting but analytical George, and newcomer Lucy whose gift for listening may be more powerful than she knows.

When a routine job goes wrong, and Lockwood and Co. accidentally burns down a client's house.   The trio is desperate to restore their reputation, so desperate they may be willing to take the most dangerous job yet.  But is saving the agency worth the price they'll have to pay?

This new series opener from Jonathan Stroud, author of the Bartimaeus trilogy, is filled with ghostly chills, Dickensian plucky orphans, and an intriguing mystery.  The cold weather is perfect for snuggling up under a blanket with a good book.  If you choose to go on this adventure with Lockwood and Co., you won't want to leave the covers any time soon!

Fortunately, the Milk

This short novel is just as clever and wonderful as all of Gaiman's work.  (I'm a fan.)  When the mother goes out of town leaving her children with their father, he forgets the milk for their breakfast cereal.  It takes longer than expected for him to return, and when his children demand to know where he has been, the father spins a tale of aliens, pirates, dinosaurs, cannibals, and just about everything else you can think of!

Fortunately, he manages to hold tight to the milk through all of this so he can save his children's breakfast!  I got a sneak peak of this one when I went to Neil Gaiman's reading/book signing in June.  He did a bonus reading because he loved the Majestic Theater so much!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Graveyard Book

When Nobody Owens was a baby, a man came into his home and murdered his family.  It was only because of Nobody's tendency to wander that he survived.  Nobody wandered to the graveyard nearby and was adopted by its ghostly inhabitants and the mysterious Silas who volunteers to become his guardian.

The murderer still hunts Nobody, and it is only within the walls of the graveyard that he is hidden and protected.  Nobody is happy with his spirit companions and their knowledge spanning the centuries back to the time of the Romans.  He will encounter things that are even more ancient and find a ghoul gate.  He learns the tricks of the dead:  fading, haunting, and imperviousness to dark and cold.  But even with all he can learn from his friends and playmates, he eventually becomes curious about the world of the living, and an anger for the man who murdered his family grows in his heart.

The more Bod ventures out of the Graveyard, the more dangerous his life becomes.  Can a boy named Nobody raised by those who are long dead survive in the land of the living and overcome the evil that stalks him?

This is one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors!  I just reread it in preparation for tomorrow's book club meeting, and it's just as good the second time around.

I met Neil Gaiman this summer and got my book signed in Dallas.  It was worth the drive and the hours of waiting!  If you haven't read this one yet, settle in for a wonderful and surprising experience!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Want to Win Free Books?

Blink, an imprint of Harper Collins is giving away three free books!  What do you need to do?  Send an email to by midnight on December 6, that's tomorrow, with your name and mailing address.  Ten winners will be chosen from all the entries!  I haven't read any of the books, but they look good.  Here's is the info from the publisher.

Doon (Blink, $17.99, ISBN13: 9780310742302) by coauthors Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon is an imaginative reboot of the classic Brigadoon musical. In Doon, Veronica and her best friend Mackenna travel to Scotland for the summer in hopes of finding some peace. But the Scottish countryside holds a host of secrets—including a passageway to a mysterious land that appears to be a real-life fairy tale. In the land of Doon, two handsome princes vie for the girls’ hearts. Veronica and Mackenna could have everything they’ve ever longed for… or end up breaking an enchantment and find themselves trapped in a world that may soon become a nightmare

Aquifer (Blink, $15.99, ISBN13: 9780310731825) by award-winning author Jonathan Friesen is a new dystopian about a world where water is power, the control of people is complete, and a truth exists that the rulers will do anything to hide. In Aquifer, 16-year-old Luca has become the Deliverer, the only person permitted to connect the Toppers, who need water to survive, with the Water Rats, individuals who mine the world’s only water source, buried deep underground. As he experiences life in his new role, Luca uncovers secrets—and lies—used to tyrannize his people. And when he meets a Water Rat who captures his heart, he begins a journey to show others the truth, free his people, and fulfill a prophecy the world’s leaders have killed people to prevent from happening.

Running Lean (Blink, $12.99, ISBN13: 9780310734970) is a debut young adult novel by Diana L. Sharples. It’s a coming-of-age story that tackles the destructive realities of a serious eating disorder, along with the power of first love. Running Lean gives readers a window into the minds of two teens as they struggle with their genuine affection for one another and the complexities of life. Solving their problems could destroy their relationship, but the alternative could be much more costly.

Woohoo!  I love free books! Visit the Blink website for more info.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

For Darkness Shows the Stars

Elliot North is only seventeen, but she feels responsible for the welfare of her family's estate and all the workers under her care.  Her father and older sister are more concerned with views of the ocean than they are with feeding the people through the winter.

After her father plows under a field of wheat to build a racetrack, Elliot begins to panic.  It seems like a miracle when the Cloud Fleet wants to rent out her grandfather's house and shipyards to build a new ship that can allow them to sail even further than before.  Elliot thinks all her problems are solved until she sees Caption Malakai Wentworth, a former laborer on the North estate and now a decorated Captain in the Cloud Fleet.  Their past is more complicated than just that of servant and master; childhood friendship blossomed into love, but has now settled into resentment over the past four years of Kai's absence.

More than just the estate is at stake as Elliot battles her own feelings and Kai's coldness.  Loosely based on Jane Austen's Persuasion, Diana Perfreund's novel is a heartbreaking love story set in a post-apocalyptic science fiction landscape.