Monday, January 25, 2021

Youth Media Awards (from the ALA) 2021

The ALA YA Award Books winners were announced today and here they are. This year I haven't read most of them so I am excited to get to read them over the coming year. 

  • Michael L. Printz Award (Best YA literature of the year)--Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story) by Daniel Nayeri
  • Schneider Family Book Award (Teen living with a disability)--When Stars Are Scattered written by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, illustrated by Victoria Jamieson, color by Iman Geddy 
  • Alex Awards (10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences)--Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice - Crossing Antarctica Alone by Colin O’Brady, Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio by Derf Backderf, The Kids Are Gonna Ask by Gretchen Anthony, The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones, Plain Bad Heroines by emily m. danforth, Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi, Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh, We Ride Upon Sticks: A Novel,” by Quan Barry
  • Margaret A. Edwards Award (Author who has made a significant contribution to YA or Children's Lit)--Kekla Magoon
  • Stonewall Children's and Young Adult Literature (LGBT)-- We Are Little Feminists: Families written by Archaa Shrivastav
  • William C. Morris Awar(First YA novel by author)--If These Wings Could Fly by Kyrie McCauley
  • YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults--The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh written by Candace Fleming
  • Coretta Scott King Author Award (African American Author)--Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award (African American New Talent)--Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
  • Pura Belpre (Latino Author)--Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera
  • Asian / Pacific American Award--This Light Between Us,” written by Andrew Fukuda

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Sunday Salon: January 24, 2021

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz runs The Sunday Salon. 

All these reviews will be posted in mid-February after the winners of the CYBILS have been announced.
  • The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
  • Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

We had rain yesterday! It was only about half an inch, but for us that's exciting since we're in the middle of a huge drought.
We've taken a break from Korean dramas for the past week, but will start a new one tonight. On the treadmill I watched an interesting documentary called Meru about a group of 3 rock climbers. If you liked Free Solo, then you'll enjoy this one, too.

Today is a day full of zooms and I am excited. 9:00am zoom with my dad's side of the family, 11:00 zoom with my girlfriends from high school, and 12:00 zoom with my brother for his birthday. Yay!

We have a new president and vice president! I really did breathe a sigh of relief once they were sworn in. I was in a zoom meeting and everyone laughed at me because I muted myself to watch them get sworn in and did a happy dance. And, Amanda Gorman's poem. Wow.

Yeah, I need to share my two favorite Bernie memes, which are both related to meetings.

I have read 12 finalists for the CYBILS, but still have 2 more to read in the YA Speculative fiction category. I am making good time. And, my favorites are not what I expected, so that's fun. I cannot wait to start posting reviews!

This graphic i sa link to my Challenges page.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

TLC Book Tour excerpt: The Vineyard at Painted Moon by Susan Mallery

I am excited to participate in the TLC Book Tour for The Vineyard at Painted Moon by Annie Ward. For this tour, I am just doing an excerpt from the novel.

Summary: Step into the vineyard with Susan Mallery’s most irresistible novel yet, as one woman searches for the perfect blend of love, family and wine.
Mackenzie Dienes seems to have it all—a beautiful home, close friends and a successful career as an elite winemaker with the family winery. There’s just one problem—it’s not her family, it’s her husband’s. In fact, everything in her life is tied to him—his mother is the closest thing to a mom that she’s ever had, their home is on the family compound, his sister is her best friend. So when she and her husband admit their marriage is over, her pain goes beyond heartbreak. She’s on the brink of losing everything. Her job, her home, her friends and, worst of all, her family.
Staying is an option. She can continue to work at the winery, be friends with her mother-in-law, hug her nieces and nephews—but as an employee, nothing more. Or she can surrender every piece of her heart in order to build a legacy of her own. If she can dare to let go of the life she thought she wanted, she might discover something even more beautiful waiting for her beneath a painted moon.

Purchase Links Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Susan Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Mackenzie paused to unlace her boots and left them in the mudroom. Rhys did the same. They raced up the stairs together, separating at the landing to head to their individual en suite bedrooms. 

Once in her bathroom, she started the shower. Thankfully, she’d already picked out the dress she would wear. She raced through a shower. After she dried off, she wrapped her hair in a towel and dug out the scented body lotion Rhys had given her a couple of years ago. Why anyone would want to smell like coconut and vanilla was beyond her, but he liked it. 

She walked into the large closet and opened her underwear drawer. To the right were all the sensible bikini panties she usually wore—to the left were the fancier ones for special occasions. She chose a black pair and slipped them on, then went to the second drawer and looked for the matching push-up bra. When it and the pads were in place and doing the best they could with her modest curves, she pulled on a robe and returned to the bathroom. 

After plugging in her hot rollers, it took her only a few minutes to apply eyeliner and mascara. She was flushed from the day working outside, so she didn’t bother with any other makeup. 

Her hair took a lot longer. First she had to dry the dark red shoulder-length waves, then she had to curl them. While the rollers were in place, she searched for a pair of black high-heel sandals that wouldn’t leave her crippled by the end of the night.

 Those found, she opened her small jewelry box and pulled out her wedding set, sliding both the engagement ring and the wedding band into place on her left hand. Diamond stud earrings followed. She’d barely stepped into her sleeveless black dress when Rhys walked into the closet, fully dressed in black slacks and a dark gray shirt. 

She sighed when she saw him. “See. You have it so much easier than me.” 

“Yes, but in the end, you’re more beautiful. That should be worth something.”

 “I’d rather have the extra time.” 

She turned, presenting him with her back. He pulled up the zipper, then bent to collect her shoes. They retreated to her bathroom and together began removing the curlers. 

“We’re late,” Mackenzie said, catching sight of his watch. “Your mom is going to be all snippy.” 

“She’ll be too busy welcoming her guests.” The last of the curlers was flung onto the counter. Mackenzie fluffed her hair, then pointed to the bedroom. 

“Retreat,” she said, reaching for the can of hair spray. 

Rhys ducked to safety. She sprayed the curls into submission before running into the bedroom to escape the death cloud. Rhys was on the bench at the foot of the large bed. She sat next to him and quickly put on her shoes. 

“Done,” she said, pausing to reacquaint herself with the seldom-used skill of walking in heels. 

She grabbed her husband’s wrist. “Seven fifteen. Barbara’s going to kill us.” 

“She’s not. I’m her only son and you’re just plain her favorite.” 

“We weren’t ready exactly at seven. I can already hear the death-march music in my head. I want to be buried on Red Mountain.” 

Rhys chuckled as he led the way downstairs. “In the vineyard? I’m not sure your decaying body is going to be considered organic.” 

“Are you saying I’m toxic?” she asked with a laugh as they walked toward the front door. 

“I’m saying you’re wonderful and I’d like us to have a good night.” 

There was something in his tone, she thought, meeting his gaze. She’d known this man her entire adult life. They’d met over Christmas her freshman year of college. Her roommate, his sister Stephanie, had dragged Mackenzie home to meet the family. Grateful not to have to spend the holiday by herself, Mackenzie had gone willingly and had quickly found herself falling not only for her best friend’s hunky older brother but for the entire Barcellona family and the vineyards they owned. Barbara had been like a surrogate mother, and the vineyards, well, they had been just as magical as Rhys’s sexy kisses.

 Now she studied her husband’s expression, seeing the hint of sadness lurking behind his easy smile. She saw it because she hid the same emotion deep inside herself. The days of stealing away for sexy kisses were long gone. There were no lingering looks, no intimacy. They had a routine and a life, but she was less sure about them still having a marriage.

 “I’d like that, too,” she murmured, knowing he wasn’t asking them not to fight. They never did. Harsh words required a level of involvement they simply didn’t have anymore.

 “Then let’s make that happen,” he said lightly, taking her hand in his and opening the front door. 

Excerpt Tour:

Monday, January 18th: Novel Gossip

Tuesday, January 19th: Helen’s Book Blog

Wednesday, January 20th: Pacific Northwest Bookworm

Thursday, January 21st: From the TBR Pile

Friday, January 22nd: Jathan & Heather

Monday, January 25th: Reading Reality

Tuesday, January 26th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Wednesday, January 27th: Lesa’s Book Critiques

Thursday, January 28th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Friday, January 29th: Literary Quicksand

Saturday, January 30th: The Romance Dish

Monday, February 1st: Leighellen Landskov

Tuesday, February 2nd: The Sketchy Reader

Wednesday, February 3rd: Audio Killed the Bookmark

Thursday, February 4th: Palmer’s Page Turners

Friday, February 5th: What is That Book About

Saturday, February 6th: Books & Bindings

Sunday, February 7th: Books & Spoons

Monday, February 8th: Books Cooks Looks

Tuesday, February 9th: Romantic Reads and Such

Monday, January 18, 2021

Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry

Title: Beach Read

Author: Emily Henry

Year Published: 2020

Category: Adult fiction (romance)
Pages: 384
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2021 Google Reading map)USA (MI)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast. They're polar opposites. In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they're living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer's block. Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She'll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he'll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Review: I am in the midst of reading 14 YA novels as a judge for the CYBILS awards and I needed a break from speculative fiction so thought I'd throw in a few days of reading an adult romance. What a great decision! I flew through this book, staying in bed on this holiday Monday morning for an extra two hours to finish it.

What I love about these books is that you know the man characters will end up together so the whole novel is a slow build with stops and starts. I love it. I also really liked the storyline of the books Gus and January were writing; we got to follow their process as writers as well as the process of their relationship. 

January's texts with her best friend were a good way to get her story out there without a third wheel in the picture and Gus' aunt was a fun addition (it's always good to have a book shop owner as a character). At first I didn't think I would care about January's parents' story and their relationship with her, but by the end I was fully invested and emotional about it all.

This was the perfect pandemic/break from YA speculative fiction!

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Alphabet Soup--"H"
  • Literary Escapes--Michigan

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Sunday Salon: January 17, 2021

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz runs The Sunday Salon. 

All these reviews will be posted in mid-February after the winners of the CYBILS have been announced.
  • Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
  • Sia Martinez and the Moonlit  Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gillilamp
  • Even if We Break by Marieke Nijkamp

It has been in the upper 70s to low 80s this week. In January! I gotta' say it feels good to sit outside for a bit and soak up the sun.

We finished Strong Woman Do Bong Soon and enjoyed it, but haven't figured out our next K-drama to watch. Instead, I watched a wonderful documentary called A Most Beautiful Thing, which follows men from an all-Black rowing team out of west Chicago high school.

On the treadmill I've been watching Queer Eye. It isn't my favorite show, but it keeps me amused while I work out and that's what matters. Yesterday I began Charlie Wilson's War, but am not sure I am going to stick with it.

COVID numbers are up like crazy in our county and I still see people wandering around without masks. What is that about?! My parents both got their first vaccine dose of the Moderna vaccine Friday, which was quite emotional for them. I think for the first time they can picture being okay through this and being able to go and see our family.

By the time I do my next Sunday Salon, we'll have a new president here in the US. It cannot happen soon enough for me!

I have read all 7 of the YA fiction finalists for the CYBILS, but still have 4 more to read in the YA Speculative fiction category. But, I have a few weeks so I think I am good to go. It feels strange not to post the reviews as I go along.

I stole the idea of my new Challenges Update graphic from Deb at Readerbuzz, but put my own twist on it. Thanks Deb! The graphic is a link to my challenges page.