1/29/13

2013 Newbery and Caldecott Medal Winners

I don't normally blog about children's books, but as a mom and a former bookseller, this bit of news seemed worth sharing.

The Newbery and Caldecott winners were announced yesterday. For those who aren't familiar with these two highly prestigious awards, here's the quick and dirty... Newbery (one R!) is for contributions to children's literature in books designed for about grade 3-6th. They're nearly always sad (These are the books that teachers love to assign). The Caldecott Medal is for picture books, and usually the illustrations are the big deal there.

I haven't read either one of this year's winners, but I do have the Newbery Medal winner on its way from Amazon.

Newbery Medal
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Caldecott Medal
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

The ALA's website (linked above) also have lists of the previous winners for both awards as well as the Honor books (runners up).

Review: Shades of Gray by Maya Banks

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Length: 282 pages (includes an additional 100 or so pages of novella)
Pub Date: January 2013
Publisher: Berkley (Penguin)
FTC: Purchased myself

Maya Banks writes in just about every genre out there, but her KGI romantic suspense series is my favorite. Or it was until she left the straight suspense and ventured in the land of woo-woo with the last two books in the series. Don't get me wrong, I like woo-woo. I still read paranormal romance. But I intensely dislike when a series starts out as one thing and morphs into another. Thankfully, the series is back on track with Shades of Gray.

This is the story I've been waiting for. PJ, a trained sniper, and Cole have been dancing around each other for several books now. And this book dives right in with a relationship beginning in the very first few chapters.  The rest of the book isn't so much about them, as dealing with the aftermath of an op gone horribly wrong. And that's where I have some issues with the book.

[Spoilers Ahead]

1/17/13

Don't Bother Me, I'm Eating...

It's still feeling like Antarctica here in the mountains, but today actually warmed up past freezing. Which of course meant the wildlife is out enjoying the sun, too.

Today's "wildlife" is the very domesticated squirrel whose stash of nuts is across the street in the middle of a tree.

He was very busily munching away, minding his own business.


Until I crept across the street to take his picture. Note to self, I need a telephoto lens.

1/16/13

TBR Challenge Review: At Last by Jacquie D'Alessandro

Format: ebook
Pub Date: April 2, 2011
Publisher: Self published
Length: 59 pages (per Amazon)
Why was it in the TBR? Author is an auto-buy

This month's TBR Challenge theme is  We Love Short Stories! Anything from category romance to novella to short story qualifies. Which makes it a perfect theme for my digital TBR.

I'm a big fan of Jacquie D'Alessandro. Especially of her historical novels. Her books are always filled with interesting characters and well crafted prose. While I liked her last book, a contemporary romance, I missed her historical books. Which is why I picked up this self-published novella as soon as I spotted it on Amazon.

 This is one of those books that is enjoyable while you're reading it, but doesn't hold up to a lot of scrutiny once you've finished. The plot is a well-worn one of two strangers hooking up for an affair, lying about their identities, then realizing their feelings are much deeper than they anticipated.

1/10/13

Happy New Year!

The holidays have thrown my usual schedule so off that I'm still trying to find time to read and blog. But I am enjoying our seasonable weather right now. Normally, December and January are chilly and dry, with most of our snow coming in early March. This year, we had a nice storm for Christmas, then a cold spell that actually kept snow on the ground for over two weeks now.

With a fresh dusting of snow last night, I took a drive with my husband around the area to play with the camera.

 Is it just me, or does that piece of ice look like a plucked chicken?


 This one I took from the car, because my fingers were frozen.

 Trains still run through our area, although nearly all of the passenger traffic has moved to run over Donner.

This was Hubs's favorite tree on our mini road trip.

So what has the new year been like for you?

Gifts for the Baker