Sunday, December 31, 2017

Book Boos: 2017 in Review

Ahhhh! 2017 is almost over! It was a weird year and while a lot of things were crappy, I am bummed to see it go solely because 17 is my favorite number! I know it sounds silly, but I'll miss writing '17 multiple times a day. 18 is way too even:)

But I have big goals for my reading in 2018. For the past two years I've made a high goal of 101 in my Goodreads challenge and have not met it. I read 75 in 2016 and just under the wire I finished my 76th book...Can you believe I actually had a book I forgot to log into my year?? I was stressing to match last year's challenge and I ended up going one over!

But yes, for 2018, I am again aiming for 101 books read. The way I see it, one audiobook a week is an easy 52. Then I just have to read, on average, one a week. I should be able to do that!

So what did I read in 2017???

  • Of my 76 books, 33 were adult (43%) and 43 were teen (57%). 0 were nonfiction. (Boo!) 
  • I reread 13 books...and one of them I read three times in 2017 alone! Wowza! Can you guess which one?
  • 20 were Advanced Reader Copies 
  • 44ish had fantasy elements
  • 46 have numbers in the titles...aka are parts of series

Which were my favorites!? (In no particular order!)
  • WINDWITCH by Susan Dennard. I LOVE this world she's created and her characters are fantastic! I definitely plan on rereading this series before the next one comes out (13 Feb!) because I want to make sure I haven't missed anything.
  • THE LAST FIRST DAUGHTER by Abbie Fine. Seeing this from early stages to published book has been an absolute honor! 
  • HUNTED by Meagan Spooner. I read this early in 2017 and it's stuck with me. I love a good Beauty and the Beast retelling, but I extra loved the setting for this one and our current cold weather has me thinking about it more.
  • A CONJURING OF LIGHT by V.E. Schwab. Epic. This entire series is freaking fantastic! Just...TRUST ME and go read A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC. DO it do it!
  • THE ROYAL WE by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. I have such royal wedding fever and this was just what the doctor ordered! This was one of my rereads and I had meant to wait until closer to Prince Harry's wedding, but I couldn't! 
  • THE CITY OF BRASS by S.A. Chakraborty. It's awesome to read a new and exciting fantasy book that stands up to all of the buzz. 
  • THE GOBLINS OF BELLWATER by Molly Ringle. Molly is going to think I'm obsessed with her because I've talked about her book so much. But it has the most beautiful cover and it was such an enjoyable read! I also made sure my BN got it in stock and made it a staff rec. It feels good to have 100% excitement for a quieter book. 
  • FINAL GIRLS by Riley Sager. I listened to this on my drive to Cincinnati over the summer and didn't get bored once. (That's a feat bc 8 hours is pretty long for listening to one thing!) I loved this thriller and highly recommend it!
  • OBSIDIAN AND STARS by Julie Eshbaugh. I love Julie's writing and was impressed with how this second book stayed so fresh. The point of view changes, but so does the style of storytelling and things get much more violent. I also got to meet Julie finally and she is just the nicest! 
  • A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN by Sarah J. Maas. ACOMAF is still my fave, but this book was so epic. I took the day off work to read it for fear of spoilers (and to see if I could do it) and I finished it early the second day, barely able to see straight anymore and with no regrets. I these characters.  

And now, in an order:
I did this last year, where I chose the top book of each month and then ranked them. It was very interesting!
  1.  A CONJURING OF LIGHT by V. E.Schwab
  2. A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN by Sarah J. Maas
  3. OBSIDIAN AND STARS by Julie Eshbaugh
  4. THE CITY OF BRASS by S. A. Chakraborty
  5. DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING by Tricia Levenseller   
  6. THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renee Ahdieh 
  7. TOWER OF DAWN by Sarah J. Maas
  8. AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS by Margaret Rogerson
  9. FINAL GIRLS by Riley Sager
  11. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen 
OMG I think 3-11 are all tied! That was impossible!
Autographed Copies...AKA Who I Met:
I went to and helped to host* a lot of authors in 2017! 
  • Sarah J. Maas 
    • multiple times...I just figure that as long as I can get tickets and get there, I'm going to go. I was lucky enough to be one of the 50 chosen at her Tower of Dawn tour which was amazing!
  • Lisa Maxwell*
    • I emailed myself after THE LAST MAGICIAN came out predicting it would make the NYTimes bestseller list. I could just feel the magic (ha!) with it. 
  • Christina June*
  • Katy Upperman*
  • Miranda Keneally*
  • Mary Rand Hess*
  • Martina Boone*
  • Jodi Meadows*
  • Ryan Graudin
  • Sarah Dessen*
  • Kristen Cashore*
  • Alwyn Hamilton*
    • I read REBEL OF THE SANDS as an ARC and have been obsessed ever since. Love Alwyn's writing and her sense of humor!
  • Renee Ahdieh*
    • THE WRATH AND THE DAWN had me swooning so much! Renee has the best makeup and she hugged us after the event! We're totally BFF now, right?
  • Natalie C Anderson*
  • Lesley Livingston*
  • Victoria Schwab
    • My only regret is that she and I are not BFF. And not just because she now owns a flat in Edinburgh where half of my heart seems to remain. 
  • Cassandra Clare*
  • Susan Dennard 
    • Not only does Susan have the most amazing website, newsletter, and IG, but she's a science/artsy type just like me! Love!
  • Julie Eshbaugh
    • It was awesome finally getting to meet Julie. She's has such an effervescent personality.
  • Leigh Bardugo 
  • NOVA Teen Book Festival
(I KNOW I am forgetting some! Eeeek!) 

What did you read in 2017??? What do you plan to read in the new year?? 

Book Boos: December 2017

I really packed in the shorter books in December. I do this partly because December is always crazy and my mind doesn't want to concentrate on more complex stories, but also because there are always several books I get 100+ pages into and set aside. I don't want to say I've read them, but those took time and I want it to count, I read novellas and figure the average of the two counts as a full book.

  1.  THE CITY OF BRASS by S.A. Chakraborty. (ARC). LOVED this one! Just enough fantasy where it's fun and exciting, but not too much where you're constantly wondering what you're not getting. I loved the setting as well as the characters.
  2. DREAMER'S POOL by Juliet Marillier- Quite enjoyable story, but my only complaint is that I wanted more magic! I'm curious if more is introduced as the series goes on.
  3. LULLABIES by Lang Leav. I love Lang Leav. She doesn't just do random line breaks and call it poetry.
  4. THE END WE START FROM by Megan Hunter. I was intrigued by the sparse style this is written in and, while it definitely makes for a quick read and even works for the story, I found it a little clunky when trying to keep the characters straight. Also, with how the story ends up, it kind of makes me want to read the STATION ELEVEN type version of it.
  5. THE QUEEN by Kiera Cass. The Selection series is just so easy and enjoyable and, while there are some questionable moments in this novella (tricks to see if she's the one?!), it was quick and fun.
  6. THE WINTER OVER by Matthew Iden. (Audio). This was the perfect book to read during one of our cold fronts. It's set in Antarctica and the author does a good job making you feel the cold. I wasn't as into it in the last 4th, but I liked the first parts enough to make up for it.
  7. A DARING SACRIFICE by Jody Hedlund (Audio). I finished this and then realized it was the 2nd in a series...but it's a companion to the 1st? I'm confused. I even enjoyed much of the story, but then it makes me wonder what I was missing and why I didn't realize it.
  8. IN CALABRAI by Peter S. Beagle. (ARC). I love unicorns and wish one would appear in my back yard.
  9. BREAKFAST AT TIFFANYS by Truman Capote (Audio). If you take out the horribly racists parts, this is a great story.
  10. THE MOST WONDERFUL TALES OF THE YEAR by Audible Narrators (Audio). I enjoyed the narrators more than the authors:):)
  11. GATHER 'ROUND THE SOUND (Audio). Fun collection from writers about the holidays:)
  12. THE DEATH OF IVAN ILLYCH by Leo Tolstoy (Audio). I thought this was going to be something different when I started it and I was so bored. Sorry!
  13. THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald(Audio). Still epic.
  14. THE ROYAL WE by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (Audio)- This is one of those books where I literally would just read it forever. It covers a lot of years and after you flip that last page, you kind of expect it to jump another few years and let you know how the beloved characters are doing. I had originally read the ARC of this and was curious if much would be different...I didn't notice anything, though. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone with royal wedding fever, anyone who loves British culture, and anyone who just loves a good (but complex) love story.
  15. MILK AND HONEY by Rupi Kaur- I loathe this book so much. I know poetry is subjective and a lot of people love it, but I just can't. And normally I'd put all rereads in the last position, but not this month.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book Boos: November 2017

6. A COURT OF MIST AND FURY by Sarah J. Maas. (Audio). I started relistening to this after a bad day at work and then found I couldn't stop. This book is still my favorite. Reminder that it's only in the 'last' spot because it's a reread.

5. BEYOND THE HIGHLAND MIST by Karen Marie Moning. This book was good, but it dragged a bit toward the end. I loved the "will they/won't they" that lasted for quite awhile and, for a romance, there were some excellent scenes!

4. SCYTHE by Neal Shusterman. (Audio). Another book where I enjoyed the beginning way more. There's a bit of a plot shift halfway through and I liked where it took the book, but I missed some of the earlier character connections when that happened.

3. NEVERNIGHT by Jay Kristoff. (Audio). This book is dark and brutal, but filled with memorable characters and an interesting premise. I really liked the main character as well as the training spot where much of the book took place. I've already purchased book two and can't wait to dive in!

2. ARTEMIS by Andy Weir. (ARC). I LOOOVVVVED THE MARTIAN. Going into this book, I knew not to expect the same, which is good, because it's not THE MARTIAN Pt. 2. It still has the fun science and intelligent, craft main character, but the stakes felt different. Yes, Jazz was working through problems that were life and death, but she was 'just' on the moon. It felt different. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it as I really did and it was a quick page-turner.

1. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen. (Audio). I didn't know this was going to be my top read until I started writing this post. I know a trillion people will hate me for this, but I think I loved this book because I love the Keira Knightley movie so much. It's why I so often say to read the book after the movie: I already love the characters, but reading it gave me deeper insight and more scenes. And yes, Matthew MacFadyen is the only Darcy for me.

Book Boos: October 2017

Uhhhh I only read two books in October!? Dreadful!

2. THE LAST NAMSARA by Kristen Ciccarelli. (ARC). This was excellent! I was never into dragons back in the Eragon days, but, I think, Game of Thrones is what made them cool. This is a story about a badass dragon hunter who goes after the fiercest beast of all.

1. TOWER OF DAWN by Sarah J. Maas. (Audio and Print). I had a fantastic time at the book signing for this book in North Carolina. My friends couldn't go so my mom came with me and we had the best time! *And* I got chosen to be one of the 50 to get my book personalized and to meet Sarah. Woohoo! So many people were against this book for reasons I'm still unsure of. They don't like Chaol? Uhhh, even if you hate him, why wouldn't you want to read a book that's integral to the entire series? People are weird. This book was great and I loved reading about the southern continent. It was SO HARD reading a book that runs parallel to the event sin EMPIRE OF STORMS, though, because I kept wanting to yell at them to go help Aelin!

Book Boos: September 2017

6. HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J. Maas. (Audio). Like I said for past posts, I reread the entire THRONE OF GLASS series in anticipation of the 6th book being released. So, I love this book, but I try to put newer books in the higher spots. I really love reading as Aelin discovers more about herself and her powers and, of course, the introduction of Rowen. SJM is so good at writing characters who are dealing with grief, I think.

5. QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas. (Audio). One of my favorite scenes of any book is in this book: when the orchestra protests. I love it so so so so SOOOOOOO much and it gives me chills when I read it. This is what I told Sarah when I met her on the TOWER OF DAWN tour and explained that I was a musician so it meant so much to me. Also...and, I'm not certain if it's this book or #3, but I love the introduction of Lorcan who has become one of my favorite characters of the series!

 4. EMPIRE OF STORMS by Sarah J. Maas. (Audio). I remember reading this the first time and thinking about how epic it was, but that there were things I didn't's why I reread the series. And it was a good decision because little things jumped out at me and it made the entire story so much more badass and enjoyable. Love this series!

3. THE WAKING LAND by Callie Bates. I enjoyed this story about a young woman who is returned to her family after being raised by her enemies and her discovery of the magic within her. I love when magic is written as a connection to nature and that was a huge part of the premise of this book.

2. THE GOBLINS OF BELLWATER by Molly Ringle. (ARC). I admittedly chose this book based on the cover and I am SO GLAD I did! I loved this story and the ambience created in it. It reminded me of a Midsummer Night's Dream of humans and fae interacting and being tricked and nothing being quite as it seems.

1. AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS by Margaret Rogerson. (ARC). I was hearing a lot of buzz about this book so I bumped it up on my reading list and I am so glad! I read a lot of reviews comparing it to A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas, but except for some similarities, they seem quite different to me. I really loved Isobel and how her art was used as a plot device and I, of course, loved the autumn prince. It was a wild journey through the fae lands and, if anything, I could have used more of that! I look forward to reading more by this author.

Debut Author and Bookseller in Conversation

A debut author and a bookseller are friends—and both obsessed with YA literature—so here is their conversation about writing, book selling, and what’s hot right now in YA. 

Abbie is the debut author of THE LAST FIRST DAUGHTER
Scarlet is a manager at Barnes & Noble (the resident YA expert), a musician and writer.

Scarlet: Tell us about your book! Pretend we’re on an elevator and instead of us all looking around nervously, you tell us all about what you wrote! Go!
Abbie: Wait… how many floors?
THE LAST FIRST DAUGHTER is a Young Adult adventure that will appeal to fans of LEGEND by Marie Lu or other YA Dystopian novels with a dose of romance. The main character, Lindy, is a contemporary version of a princess—the First Daughter—if princesses don’t like the spotlight but do like building radios. When the White House is attacked by terrorists, Lindy and her security officer Henry are the only ones to escape. They go into hiding and take on fake identities because the terrorists are hunting the missing First Daughter. Adventure ensues when Lindy and Henry must decide what risks are worth it to make her family proud—and take back the White House.
Scarlet: How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always been into?
Abbie: I don’t think I’ve told anyone outside my immediate family this before, but I did write two “complete manuscripts” when I around 12 years old. They are lost now, but I could still tell you a decent amount about these tales (I won’t. Okay, there may have been magical parallel worlds and mermaids). So yes, I’ve always been a storyteller.
But after those first two novels, I got really passionate about theatre. Theatre was my storytelling outlet through middle and high school, college, post-college internships… and, well, I still direct theatre productions! Around 2013, when I had recently decided not to pursue theatre full-time, I decided to try writing as a way to be creative between directing projects. I was becoming obsessed with Young Adult fiction and felt I had a fresh story to tell in the genre. THE LAST FIRST DAUGHTER is the manuscript I started drafting in 2013!
Abbie: What inspired THE LAST FIRST DAUGHTER?
Abbie: The kernel of the idea of TLFD also came from way back in childhood. I was fascinated by the Anastasia story, but I thought it would be cooler if the girl knew she was a princess, but didn’t tell anyone. That little idea stuck with me, and when I met my other inspirations for TLFD—all the amazing YA fiction I was reading—I knew where I wanted to start.
I quickly realized that the theme from my childhood idea was closely related to a theme in my favorite Shakespeare play, AS YOU LIKE IT. I’m a Shakespeare nerd! I love AYLI because of the main character, Rosalind—hence, Rosalind “Lindy” Edwards was born.

Scarlet: If you like [fill in the blank], you’ll like THE LAST FIRST DAUGHTER….??
Abbie: If you like
  • A modern take on a badass princess
  • Engineer girls (STEM!)
  • Slow-burn romance
  • Whirlwind romance
  • Secret identities
  • Evil masterminds
  • Big questions about technology + society
  • Female Presidents
  • Girl friendships
  • Older boys
  • Or when girls save the day with their brains, not violence!


    … you’ll like THE LAST FIRST DAUGHTER!


    Scarlet: Just for fun questions. What do you do in your non-writing time?

    Abbie: I spend most of my hours working for a library system! In my free time, I direct plays and go to see theatre, read (of course), teach management at a University, and spend as much time with family and friends as possible, preferably while in coffee shops, cool bars or traveling.


    Scarlet: Who is your favorite bookseller? (JK...and you better say me.)

    Abbie: Scarlet!! I also like the gang at One More Page Books in Arlington, Virginia—they are also big YA fans over there.


    Scarlet: What have been your top three books you’ve read this year?

    Abbie: 3) THE LAST MAGICIAN by Lisa Maxwell – super rich world, intriguing characters, and lots of twists and turns!


    2) THE VALIANT by Lesley Livingston – strong females (they’re gladiators!) in a classic setting, this hits the same spot as my favorite movie of the year: WONDER WOMAN!


    1) STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Tayler – This. Book. The language, the world, the surprises. I just couldn’t put it down for the surprises. It’s a must read!


    Scarlet: What do you have planned for 2018?

    Abbie: Hmm… besides writing and reading as much as I can? I’m going to become a Mom in 2018! Baby Fine arrives in April


    Switch interviewer/interviewee!


    Abbie: What YA upcoming releases are you most excited about? We know you get your hands on some amazing ARCs!

    Scarlet: Ooooh! I am really looking forward to Susan Dennard's SIGHTWITCH and BLOODWITCH in the next two years. Following her on Instagram and being able to see more of her writing process has made me love her books even more. Also, THE HAZEL WOOD by Melissa Albert (which I do have the ARC for, but haven't read yet!), THESE REBEL WAVES by Sara Raasch, LEGENDARY by Stephanie Garber, REIGN OF THE FALLEN by Sarah Glenn Marsh, and then about a million authors I will buy anything they write: Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, Alwyn Hamilton, Roshani Chokshi...okay, I could keep going for quite awhile. Be sure to check out #scarletsrec on Instagram for all of my recommendations! Since I do get to read a lot of ARCS, sometimes my rec is up on release day.


    Abbie: What are Barnes & Noble customers asking for in the teen section these days? 

    Scarlet: Mysteries! And funny books. Both of which are really difficult to find. I can recommend fantasy books all day long, but once a teen asks for a light-hearted mystery that will make them laugh, I'm out of options fairly quickly. And that's not to say adventure, fantasy, dark contemporary, etc. aren't popular, they are...but for some reason, mysteries just aren't getting on the shelves like I think they need to be. 

    Otherwise, I see a lot of teens coming in for THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas as well as teen classics such as THE HUNGER GAMES and LEGEND. I'm also always pleased when teens come in for the next installment of a series. I love being able to gush over favorite characters with a customer. It's so much fun to be deep in a series and all waiting for the next book to come out together. 


    Abbie: Do you judge a book by its cover? Do you think the B&N customers do? What are some favorite YA covers (either yours or the customers')?

    Scarlet: I always joke at work that the books need to stop having beautiful covers because I have NO will power when it comes to buying beautiful books. Some recent favorites are THE GOBLINS OF BELLWATER by Molly Wingle, THREE DARK CROWNS by Kendare Blake, THAT INEVITABLE VICTORIAN THING by E.K. Johnston, and every book Leigh Bardugo has ever published. 

    I think B&N customers definitely pick up a book based on the cover, but it's not why they buy it. I think staff recommendations, blurbs from authors they know, and general buzz is what gets a book into a shopper's hands. We play a game at work sometimes where we see a really beautiful book and I'll read the first line or two out loud and ask, "Would you keep going?" It can be very interesting to see what would keep us reading. 


    Abbie: How can authors become more connected with their local Barnes & Noble? Tweet at you? Send you a postcard? Drop by the store with cookies and wine?

    Scarlet: I will never say no to cookies and wine! But in all seriousness, we LOVE when authors stop by and sign stock! We will even tweet out a photo saying they're signed and I can't speak for anyone else, but I am always willing to help a kind author. There's an author who came by over five years ago and she was so sweet that I still make sure her book gets a face out in the section when I can. Twitter makes it easier for us all to connect and booksellers get a thrill out of having their staff recommendations or tweets recognized. 

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Book Boos: August 2017

4. PEEPS by Scott Westerfeld. I bought this book years and years ago when the YA section was sorta just beginning to become a thing and finally picked it up to read. It's a clever story that definitely stands the test of time.

3. CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge. (Audio). I'll be honest...I heard not great things about this one, but it came up on my library queue so I went for it. I think it worked really well in audio form because I did enjoy it!

2. CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Maas. (Audio and Print). I think it's interesting because it seems like readers either love or hate this installment of the series and, based on that, either continue or quit. (Duh, Scarlet...) What I find interesting is that I don't know what would cause someone to stop reading after this one? I get that people might want Celaena with someone specific, but sometimes you just have to trust the author...or...just get over it! I do like this one....if anything, #1 in the series is my least favorite. But don't make me say it outloud.

1. FINAL GIRLS by Riley Sager. (Audio). LOVED THIS! Such a great thriller. I listened to the entire book  on a drive to Cincinnati and was so into it. We've been recommending this one at the bookstore since it came out! HIGHLY recommend! 

Book Boos: July 2017

5. THE ONLY THING TO FEAR by Caroline T. Richmond. I started this book in 2016 when I thought Caroline was going to do a signing at my job and, when it didn't happen, I set it aside. I'm glad I picked it back up because I really like alt-history books. It's always fun/terrifying to think "what if!?".

4. DREAMSCAPE by Kerry Reed. (ARC). Kerry is a friend of a friend and I got to read her book before it came out. I loved the premise and the imagery of the dream world. I can't wait to see what else Kerry Reed writes!

3. DARK LOVER by J.R. Ward. OMG this was the perfect book for sitting in a chair under an umbrella at the beach. It has a crazy plot, hot vampires, and saucy, SAUCY scenes! I loved it!

2. FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERS by Julie C. Dao. (ARC). Loved this retelling/origin story about a villain! It was so refreshing to read about a ruthless character and the setting was also a nice change up from so many other books I usually read.

1. THE GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE by Mackenzi Lee. (Audio). This book had me laughing out loud at times, but also wanting to save certain lines to remember later. It got a teensy bit slow for me about 3/4 through, but overall I enjoyed it so much!

Book Boos: June 2017

8. A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN by Sherry Thomas. (Audio).  I'm one of the few people out there who isn't a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. Obviously, this isn't a Sherlock novel, but it's a Lady Sherlock novel...I did like it...I actually really liked it because the main character was so likeable and I enjoyed how determined she was to not follow societal norms. I think it's just that I'm not a huge mystery fan so once that's the main focus of the story, I get a little bored. But that's just me...I'd still definitely recommend this one!

7-3. THE ASSASSIN'S BLADE by Sarah J. Maas. (Audio and Print) In anticipation for the release of TOWER OF DAWN I reread the entire series, which was awesome. And yes, I do count each novella separately and here is why: there are always a few books I begin that I don't finish each year. I figure that counting novellas separately makes up for the DNF (did not finish) books I spent time on. ANYWAY...I always tells people to read THRONE OF GLASS and maybe even CROWN OF MIDNIGHT before reading the novellas, but to definitely read them before EMPIRE OF STORMS. There's a lot of great Sam info in these stories, but I think they can be a little confusing to jump right into.

3. ONCE AND FOR ALL by Sarah Dessen. (ARC) I read this book, not only because Sarah Dessen writes great books, but because she did a book signing at my job that I ran! She was sooo nice! I really enjoyed this book and, after the other couple I've read of hers, was pleasantly surprised with the sexy time inclusion. That sounds weird...I just mean that usually her books are pretty PG-13 and it was nice to up the sauciness a little. 

2. DARKFEVER by Karen Marie Moning. I read this on the recommendation of Sarah J. Maas and, of course, loved it. It's a quick, fun, dark, story about a young woman who ends up in Ireland dealing with the fae and is a total ship out of water. I'm excited to keep reading in the series because of the obsession some people have with some main characters:)

1. OBSIDIAN AND STARS by Julie Eshbaugh. (ARC). I loved IVORY AND BONE! Loved loved loved! Book 2 is also great and with a switch in narrators it also increases in the action. I also had the pleasure of finally meeting Julie at One More Page Books in Arlington for the release of this book. YAY! She's the best.

Book Boos: May 2017

I'm months behind on these because they actually take awhile to write with the photos and links...but I still want to share what I'm reading! format for busy months will be sans photos!

4. THE RIVER AT NIGHT by Erica Ferencik. (Audio). I was excited about this thriller about a group of women who go on a rafting trip down a river. Not to be too spoilery, but I liked the first part (while they were actually rafting) more than the second part.

3. STOLEN SONGBIRD by Danielle Jensen. (Audio). This book was surprisingly addicting! I really liked the main characters and was intrigued by the premise.

2. NORSE MYTHOLOGY by Neil Gaiman. (Audio and Print). I mean, duh.  Ever since my AncestryDNA came back with a percentage of Scandinavian in there, I've been even more obsessed with Vikings and Norse mythology. The audio of this is great because it's Neil Gaiman reading it himself. This is the type of book I think I'll go back to every once and awhile.

1. A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN by Sarah J. Maas. You guys, I asked off work to read this one. I worked until midnight at the bookstore, putting the new titles out, then came home with my copy and woke up early that Tuesday and literally read all day. I wanted to avoid all spoilers and with a book this popular, reading it ASAP was the only way. ANYWAY....I loved it, obviously. ACOMAF is my favorite book and I didn't expect to have the same emotional connection to it so I went in expecting awesome action, which is exactly what I got! Sarah J. Maas always does a good job of surprising me with where she takes some of her plots. Again, without getting spoilery, I was pleasantly surprised that the first location in ACOWAR was pretty brief. I just love these characters and world so so much.

Friday, December 08, 2017


Hey friends!

I want to be sure to put a book series on your radar (if it isn't already). Susan Dennard is the New York Times Bestselling author of TRUTHWITCH and WINDWITCH (as well as the SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY series). Her next installment in the Witchlands series is SIGHTWITCH....coming out 13 February 2018. The reason I'm putting this on your radar is that you have the perfect amount of time to read the first two books so you're ready for this next one.
I LOVE this series! The characters are badass, the world is extraordinary, and the action is so much fun. SIGHTWITCH is going to be extra fun because it's written with journal entries and illustrations. So...go buy TRUTHWITCH and then read WINDWITCH and meet me back here in February to talk about...SIGHTWITCH!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Goblins of Bellwater

I'm so excited for the release of THE GOBLINS OF BELLWATER by Molly Ringle! I was given early access to the book via NetGalley and am happy to give my honest review: I LOVED IT!

Buy it here!
Here's the official description:

A story inspired by Christina Rossetti's eerie, sensual poem, "Goblin Market"...
Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.

Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.

It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own.

Sounds great, right?

I really loved the atmosphere created in this book. It takes place in the Pacific Northwest so it's not high fantasy, but there was an eerie feeling to the book that started immediately. The characters are all so interesting and I really enjoyed how they interacted with each other.

I also really liked how the earth, air, wind, and fire elements played into the story. The final climax of the book is awesome and I thought Molly Ringle wrote those parts so well!

I definitely recommend this book to you all! Let me know if you read it!

Be sure to enter this awesome giveaway!

Monday, July 24, 2017

#PimpMyBio for #PitchWars 2017!


To regular readers, this is my #PimpMyBio for the awesome Pitch Wars contest being hosted over on Brenda Drake's website. Thank you SO much to her, the mentors, and everyone else who puts in so much time and energy to this wonderful contest. I entered last year, but have spent the last 12 months editing and revising so I'm excited to submit my updated project.

What project is that, Scarlet?

Well, first, let me tell you about myself and you'll know what inspired the book I wrote.

I live for creativity. In all aspects of my life I am looking for the "outside of the box" option...the unique angle...the focus no one has thought of yet. I have an intense need to create and to express myself through the arts. I love music, painting (I'm terrible at it!), photography, fashion, and, of course, writing.

I have been a musician for most of my life. I have a degree in Music and even had the incredible opportunity to play Carnegie Hall with my college orchestra. (An experience I will never forget, even though it was 15 years ago! Whoa...I'm old?) I was in a semi-professional orchestra for over 10 years, but left because of the time required and stress. It might not sound stressful playing the clarinet, but when 60+ people hear you play a wrong is. Being in that orchestra taught me a lot. I learned so much about musicality and bringing more to the music than just playing the notes on the paper. I also learned about doing the work at home so I could show up and be the best musician I could be. I think this skill translates well to participating in group work working with a mentor in Pitch Wars. I will always do the work to show up with my best product for those counting on me.

My "real" job is at a bookstore. I've worked there a long time and have seen so many trends both in how bookstores stay successful and in what is selling off the shelves. I got really into YA about 10 years ago and have been obsessed ever since. After a few years of voracious reading I realized I was learning so much about writing! So, I wrote a book....and then put it in a drawer and wrote another. It's taken a long time because I have a full time job, a lot of hobbies, and what I call my part time job: commuting. But I'm super proud of it and excited to enter it into Pitch Wars this year!'s time to talk about the book I wrote!

People always say to "write what you know!" and to "write the book you wish was out there!" That book for me is THE MOVEMENT....a YA adventure story about a near-future America where the laws have gotten out of control as the President tries to keep a hold on the country. One of those laws is that music is not allowed. Expression in general has been squashed under an intense government because of the fear of resistance. Think about punk rock in the 1980s or protest music in the '60s...and then think about if the government decided it was dangerous to have songs like those out in the public so they made them illegal. *shudder*

In THE MOVEMENT, Lera is a 17yo high school senior who one day receives music on her tablet when she goes to the library. She is TERRIFIED when she hears the music play through her headphones, but....also intrigued. Music doesn't seem so bad. She kind of even likes it. THE MOVEMENT is, at its most basic, a story about falling in love with those "warm fuzzy" feelings we all have: butterflies in the stomach, excited anticipation, new experiences.

Looking forward to beginning the Pitch Wars contest and hoping to meet some new people as well as learn more about writing and publishing! Check out the other bios here.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Book Boos: April 2017

I was on vacation to visit my sister in April and while sometimes time off from work means reading a lot, this time I was so busy I didn't get as many read. But that's okay! I was off in Nevada having a great time. On to the books!

3. A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas(eBook/Audio/Print). Obviously I love this book as this was my 4th time through in anticipation of ACOWAR coming out. I ended up listening on my flight back across the country, which was just perfect. 

2. POISON'S KISS by Breeana Shields. (ARC). This is a fast moving, fantastical story about a teen girl who kills with her kiss. very intriguing! I enjoyed it and definitely want to know what's up next in the series. 

1. GRAY WOLF ISLAND by Tracey Neithecott. (ARC). I honestly wasn't sure about this one at first. It just jumped into things and I wasn't sure about the plot. But QUICKLY...oh so quickly I was into it. It reminded me a lot of THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater...a book about a group of kind of teens (some friends, some not) on a mission in a weird world. The writing is wonderful and I ended up really liking this book! Out in October!

Saturday, May 13, 2017


My mom will most likely never read this, but I wanted to list why she's so awesome in honor of Mother's Day:

  • She never ever told me what I could and could not read. I am so grateful for this both because it meant she never embarrassed me by being "that mom" who questioned my teacher's curricula, but also because I experienced new things when I wanted to. YA lit didn't really exist when I was a teenager and I'm glad she never stopped me from reading my sexy Danielle Steel novels or stupid Sweet Valley University books. (Just kidding, SVU is awesome!)
  • She made me a country/city mouse. I grew up in a pretty rural area. When I was really little we had goats and pigs as animals. It was country, y'all. But my mom grew up in McLean and always took us to the "big city" to see family, go shopping, and to see stuff! I had A LOT of friends growing up who hadn't been past a 30 mile radius of our little non-town. I always felt more worldly than someone who grew up in a more rural area. I am so so grateful for that! 
  • She is a professional silver-lining finder! It's why when I travel and it rains, I don't really care. Find the silver lining! You're having a bad day? Find something positive to focus on. Not to say we're all just sunshine and rainbows, but, she often influences finding the positive.
  • She is a lover of fine things and oh boy has this passed on to me! Sure, we both like the simpler things in life, but put either of us in front of a rack of black shirts and we can pick out the most expensive one first. She used to get this Erno Lazlo soap that was fairly expensive, but she loved it and I totally get it now- Treat yoself! Especially when it comes to face products and handbags. 
  • She loves a theme.
  • She makes birthdays incredibly special.
  • She loves coffee more than almost anyone I know. 
  • She watches and loves Pretty Little Liars with me.
  • She makes a mean pot roast.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Book Boos: March 2017

5. THE EMPEROR'S BLADES by Brian Staveley. (Audio). I liked this book and it reminded me a bit of GAME OF THRONES with the quest for the throne and family drama and fighting and stuff. I think I might try reading book two to see if I like it more in that format. I also could have used more romance:) 

4. THE GREAT HUNT by Wendy Higgins. This is a fantastic story with amazing tension between the main character and the boy she is set up to be with. I thought the story flowed well and was exciting. Looking forward to book two!
3. THE VALIANT by Lesley Livingston. (ARC). I was lucky enough to run an event at my job with Lesley and a few other authors and it was great! I really liked this book! It's about a badass girl and I thought the side characters were so good, too. Gladiator is a favorite movie of mine so reading the female YA version was great. AND Lesley is hilarious and so nice in person! Definitely go see her if you ever can. 

2. THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN by Roshani Chokshi. This book was incredible. I absolutely love Roshani's writing style and I took note of so many beautiful lines. It was taking me forever to read it because I kept rereading beautiful passages. I highly recommend this book! It's a beautifully written love story. 

1. THE WRATH & THE DAWN by Renee Ahdieh. (Audio and Print). Wowwww! So good! I loved this story and was totally enraptured while reading it. Renee was at the same event Lesley was at and she is so nice and lovely. This book is definitely a favorite of mine.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Judy Blume is a Person

I'm going to date myself here, but I didn't have the internet until I went to college. While I am glad for so many reasons that I didn't grow up with Facebook and Twitter, sometimes I realize how much I missed out on because of it.

As a young teen girl, I found out about the world around me from my magazines: Seventeen, Sassy, and YM. I learned about music from MTV and the arts from my grandmother's hand me down Smithsonian magazines that I obsessively cut up for scrapbooks I never made. I found out which celebrities I shared a birthday with by waiting until February 17th each year to see that episode of Entertainment Tonight.

When I was in high school I excelled in music, but never knew where a love for that could take me. I assumed all music majors had to be proteges at their instruments otherwise your only other option was to be a teacher. I majored in Biology in college because I had a really wonderful teacher my junior year and wanted to combine it with my love of tennis to become a sports physician. I signed up every year for career shadowing day, but there was never anyone to pair me with. I shadowed a Nurse Practitioner one year and learned a lot about the reception area of the doctor's office.

What I love about 2017 is that so many more things are accessible. I went to an author signing this week for a writer whose work I am completely in love with. Her books inspire me and, because I follow her on twitter, I get to see some of the behind the scenes parts of the process. I went to another signing a few days later for an author who gives out course-loads of free (and amazing!) writing advice and I was able to thank her in person for that.

When I was a kid I loved Judy Blume books so incredibly much, but I had no idea who July Blume was. She was just this name on the cover of these books I devoured over and over. And it never occurred to me that I could do that, too. That writing a book wasn't just sitting down at a typewriter (remember, this is pre-computers everywhere, kids!) and creating something wonderful in one try. My love for reading never translated to writing when I was growing up and I was terrible in my english classes.

A few years ago I was watching an awards show and a celebrity wore a dress in the most beautiful shade of yellow/green. I tweeted to Judy Blume (who I knew was also watching) and said it looked chartreuse to me, a color I learned about in her book JUST AS LONG AS WE'RE TOGETHER. She wrote back in agreement and pre-teen Scarlet was ELATED. (Who are we kidding, adult Scarlet was freaking out, too.) You guys...Judy Blume is a person. She sit at the computer like the rest of us and strings together words, whether they're on twitter or in a word doc to create a book. And this woman, this sensational writer whose books I have loved for most of my life interacted with me. It was cool!

I was thinking about this the other night at my second book event in a week and about how maybe just 10 years ago I said I didn't really care about meeting authors. "It's not that exciting to meet someone who wrote the book. I'd rather just read it." 2017 me laughs so hard at this, but also, 2007 me didn't have the same connection with so many of my favorite authors: the internet...and twitter specifically.

I drove to Pennsylvania last year to meet Sarah J. Maas because I love her books so much, but also because I follow her online and it seems like we both cry all the time at stuff we love. I love when she posts on Instagram about seeing a ballet and sobbing by the end of it. (I, too, can't control my tears!)

I went to Susan Dennard's book signing last night because I love her Witchlanders series, but also because I relate to her as someone who has interests in science and the arts and because she gives the best writing advice!

I left work early last Sunday to go to Victoria Schwab's event not only because I am obsessed with her books, but because we share a love of Scotland and I admire her work ethic. I know these things because I follow her on twitter.

I've always been a lover of the arts (books, music, films, etc.), but more than with musicians and actors, authors were always a little more inaccessible. I would walk into a bookstore and look for the latest installment of my favorite series, but it never went much farther than just thinking about what their last name was to find them on the shelves or reading their short bio on the last page. Twitter changed that, and while there are, of course, cons to being so out there, I, for one am so grateful to have learned more about books and writing.

I was always going to be a lifelong reader, but in the past decade I learned I could create something, too. I discovered so many different ways to explore and share my love of books and creativity.  I may never have a published book, but I learned that writers are just people. (Talented, creative, awesome) People who sit down and do the work. I love that the internet has provided me that knowledge.

It may suck that I never knew paid internships existed in college or that there are career paths for non-protege clarinet players, but it's okay because it's 2017 and if there's one thing the internet has taught me, it's that anyone can have success and at any age.


Book Boos: February 2017

5. THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood. (Audio) Obviously this book is hella good and thought provoking and super why is it #5? Well...mostly because something has to be and it's not any less good than my other four reads this month, but I'm all about escapism with my reading lately and this one just hits too close to home right now. However, I am REALLY looking forward to Hulu's adaptation of it! 

4. A GATHERING OF SHADOWS by V.E. Schwab. (Audio). Let's be real: this book is incredible, but it, and my next two books on this list, were rereads, and I want to give newer books some higher placements this year. This series lends itself so well for rereads because you can focus on the wonderful words instead of just noting plot like we often do on read one. I love love love Kell and his interactions with just about every other character are so golden.

3. A COURT OF MIST AND FURY by Sarah J. Maas. Yep, still my favorite book. I had a Night Court-inspired birthday this year so I reread ACOTAR and ACOMAF in preparation for it. I also did a fun project where I put rose stickers on the lovely Tamlin parts in book one and star stickers on the many many many wonderful Rhysand/Night Court moments in book two. I plan to do a separate post on this soon. When I first read ACOMAF I was in the middle of a super crazy work schedule and assumed it was my near exhaustion that made me a weepy mess during most of the book. But nope, my reread left me super emotional, too. The only way I can describe it is as if Maas's words are the perfect fit for my synapses. I will say, I got a lot more out of the overall plot with Hybern on my reread, so that was definitely awesome!

2. HUNTED by Meagan Spooner. (ARC). I love a good Beauty and the Beast retelling and this one was so good! It had just enough changed so that it didn't read as more of the same and I really liked the main character. 

1. A CONJURING OF LIGHT by V.E. Schwab. (Print and Audio). WOWOWOWOWOWOOWWO! The final installment in the Shades of Magic series was perfection. I loved how the story ended, of course, but also loved how it got there. Victoria said it herself when I saw her at One More Page Books in Arlington, VA, but the books are a series of smaller and smaller stories under the umbrella of the book as a whole. ACOL reads so well in that format and I loved all of the pieces that came together...I also loved all of the increased interactions between our favorite characters...especially those on the ship...

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Book Boos: January 2017

6. A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness. (Audio.) This was actually a spectacular book that made me cry in the end. The only reason it's 6 on my list is because it just wasn't totally a Scarlet book. I read it and appreciated it and yeah, the ending hit hard, but that was it. I'm very curious about the movie now! 

5. THE GLASS MAGICIAN by Charlie N. Holmberg. (Audio.) I really like Holmberg's stories and writing style, but I was a little disappointed the two main characters (or are they just main in my own head??!!!) were separated for much of the story. I loved the ending of THE PAPER MAGICIAN and kind of wanted more of that:)

4. RED RISING by Pierce Brown. (Audio.) This was a tough one. I was SO into the beginning of the story and the premise, but somewhere in the middle I got a little bored...but then, at the end, it grabbed me again! 

3. TRAITOR TO THE THRONE by Alwyn Hamilton. (ARC.) REBEL OF THE SANDS was one of my favorite books of 2016 and I have been telling people to read it since I turned the last page. I am so happy to report that book two in the series is awesome, as well! The sequel is MUCH longer and brings in more characters in new situations. Amani continues to be a super badass main character. I am here for of her adventures.

2. WINDWITCH by Susan Dennard. (Audio and Print.) The only reason this ranked above #3 is because I got really into the build up to its release by Susan and the Witchlanders community. I looooooooove this series! Iseult and Safi are so so so cool. I love that everything is about them being threadsisters and, while book two does separate them, it works so well! Dennard has created a world and a cast of characters that are so fantastic. 

1. DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING by Tricia Levenseller. (ARC.) And the only reason DotPK ranked higher than 2 and 3 is because it read so dynamically and quickly and made me laugh and swoon and cheer for the action. Alosa is a really awesome main character and I look forward to more adventures with her. (And hopefully with you know who!!!)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Winter Wonderland

People give me a hard time about the weather. Like because I know what I like (COLD) and am 100% happy when I get to wear layers and scarves and hope for snow that I'm weird. I literally never complain about it being cold. Never ever.

But when it's January and 71 degrees out, people act like I'm a monster because I'm upset. It's not just a little warmer today, it's ridiculously warm. The average temperature in January around here is 32. So we're ~40 degrees warmer than that today. Unacceptable.

"But doesn't it feel good after it being so cold?"

No. You know what feels good? A cashmere sweater.

You know what doesn't feel good? Having to work in an overly heated building because it's 40 degrees warmer than what the thermostats are set for.

Also, it's not like we get this same unseasonable weather in the summer. The average temperatures around here for June, July, August, and September are 80, 80, 89, and 86 respectively. Also in the past few years, the coldest average day has only been 19 degrees cooler than the average. 19. Not 40.

So, come back to me when it's going to be a high in the 40s in July. Then we can talk. Or when it's going to be 20 degrees above the average for multiple days.

Give me back my winter. It's already too fleeting.


Sunday, January 01, 2017

2016: Book Boos in Review

2016 Year in Books

73 read

4 were re-reads

47 were YA (64%)

26 were adult (36%)

38 had fantasy elements

1 was non-fiction

49 are parts of series (whoa!)

34 were published in 2016

1 will be published in 2017

Top 12** (in read date order):
  • THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab
  • UNHOOKED by Lisa Maxwell
  • CAPTIVE PRINCE by C.S. Pacat
  • A COURT OF MIST AND FURY* by Sarah J. Maas 
  • UPROOTED by Naomi Novik
  • OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon
  •  CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber
  • EMPIRE OF STORMS by Sarah J. Maas
  • CROOKED KINGDOM by Leigh Bardugo
  • THE SONG OF ACHILLES by Madeline Miller
 *Favorite of the year.
**Based on top book from each month. In some cases, book two of each month would have made this list if done differently. 

Signed copies:
  • TALKING AS FAST AS I CAN by Lauren Graham
  • EMPIRE OF STORMS by Sarah J. Maas
  • QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas
  • OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon
  • CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Maas
  • THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater
  • THE CROWN'S GAME by Evelyn Skye (bookplate)
  • A COURT OF MIST AND FURY by Sarah J. Maas
  • HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer
  • GLASS SWORD by Victoria Aveyard
  • UNHOOKED by Lisa Maxwell
  • THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab
 Other reads of note:
  • GAME. SET. MATCH by Jennifer Iacopelli (A book about tennis!!! AHhhh!)
  • TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard (I love this book! Can NOT wait for WINDWITCH and also, Susan is The Best online with her advice and excitement for life.) 
  • REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton (I was hooked from the first paragraph and didn't shut up about this book for months. Hoping to meet Alwyn in Arlington this spring!)
  • AT THE EDGE OF SUMMER by Jessica Brockmole. (Fan for life. Love her books with the incorporation of letters and (so far) inclusion of Scotland.)
  • FOLLOWED BY FROST by Charlie N. Holmberg (Beautiful!)
  • IVORY AND BONE by Julie Eshbaugh (I regret not going to her release party (bc of bad weather) because this book was awesome!)
  • I'M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS by Iain Reid (Awesome thriller you must read!)

 A great reading year and I look forward to 2017!


Book Boos: December

4. THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS by M.R. Carey. (Audio). I liked the beginning of this book a little more than the back half. The plot changes a bit about halfway through and it took me by surprise and I found myself missing the beginning plot. But still, very creative take on the subject matter! 

3. THE SHADOW QUEEN by C.J. Redwine. (Audio). I liked this story a lot! It's a great take on the Snow White story with great magic, adventure, and romance. I am definitely looking forward to book two!

2. TALKING AS FAST AS I CAN by Lauren Graham. (Audio and Print). Did you know I have a Gilmore Girls podcast? Well, I do. Go listen to it! I'm a HUGE Lauren Graham fan after loving her fiction book, SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY MAYBE, I've been looking forward to her memoir since it was announced. I even went to NYC to her book talk with Michael Ausiello, which was AWESOME. She was hilarious and sweet and sincere in person and all of that comes through in her writing, too. If you're a fan of Gilmore Girls or not, this book is really fun. 

1. THE SONG OF ACHILLES by Madeline Miller. (Audio and Print). Stunning. Epic. Heartbreaking. This book, a retelling of the Iliad, is incredible. It's not only super creative in its storytelling, but the words and sentences used are beyond beautiful. Also, some people will hate this, but I totally imagined Brad Pitt from Troy as Achilles while I read this and that was oh so lovely.