Most Popular Posts of 2016

I’m closing out my fifth year blogging, and I can barely believe it. My life, my blog, and blogging in general have changed so much since I started in January 2012. But what hasn’t changed is that I really like this space that exists on the blog. That’s why I keep doing this I guess. My most popular post written this year (by leaps and bounds) is somewhat bittersweet. It is the post I wrote just after my grandmother died: My Nana, Jo Barton. It feels fitting that this was so popular, and Nana would have loved it. It also lead to so many friends and acquaintances of her to reach out to me – which really meant the world.

Here are some of my other most popular posts from 2016: Continue reading

Top Ten Best Books I Read in 2016

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Hi friends! How are you doing? I prescheduled this post, but right now I am with my family in Ojai California. Hopefully, it is warmer than December in New York! I read so many good books this year. I tried to include lots of 2016 releases in this list, but there were a few published in earlier years that I couldn’t leave off. The elimination process for this list was brutal. Even now, I’m second guessing myself. But here we go! Continue reading

Bart’s Books – A New Favorite Bookstore

img_7575Happy Friday, friends! I have journeyed from New York City to Ojai, California for family holiday celebrations. It is warm during the day, dark at night, and always quiet and beautiful. Basically, I’m in love with Ojai. I’m even more in love with the local bookstore: Bart’s Books. I’ve been hearing about this bookstore for years from my sister and soon-to-be Brother-in-Law, but I didn’t expect to love this store as much as I did. We visited yesterday afternoon, and it was magical.

From the moment I saw this sign at the front of the store, I knew it would be love. Closing at sunset? Having bookshelves line the outside walls of the store? Just throw in some coins after hours?

I was utterly and completely charmed. And I hadn’t even been inside yet!  Continue reading

Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree

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Happy (almost!) holidays, friends. I’m leaving for California tomorrow to spend 2 weeks with my family and I am BEYOND excited. Hopefully, there will be at least a few books under our Christmas tree this year. There are probably hundreds that I’d be happy to receive. Here are just the first ones that came to mind (a surprising number of adult books and biographies on this list). Continue reading

Three Dark Crowns, by Kendare Blake

three-dark-crownsI’ve been been reading more and more fantasy this year – I think maybe because now I’m writing contemporary? A friend recommended Three Dark Queens, by Kendare Blake, when I was putting together this list of 100 books about sister relationships for Book Riot. The list turned me on to a lot of good books about sisters that I hadn’t read before, but so far this one has been my favorite. And I’m not alone! I’ve been delighted to see this title pop up on several “best of 2016” lists. It’s darker and a little scarier than what I normally read, but the characterization, suspense, and world building totally won me over!

The book switches perspectives between the three young queens: triplets borns once a generation on the island of Fennbirn who are equal heirs to the throne and possessors of magical powers. The triplets are separated from ages six to sixteen when they fight to the death. The last sister standing wins the crown. Mirabella is a powerful elemental, controlling the weather with fierce power. Katharine is raised by poisoners, who expect her to eat the deadliest poisons without being affected. Arisnoe is a naturalist, meaning she should be able to control plants and animals. Continue reading

Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward To For The First Half Of 2017

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Happy Tuesday and happy (almost) holidays, friends! I am seriously so psyched to get to all the amazing books 2017 is offering up to me. Here are some of the ones I’m looking forward to the most. I doubt it’s a surprise to anyone reading this that they are all YA. I’m trying to diversify my reading (in a lot of ways) but, come on, the heart wants what the heart wants. What books coming out in 2017 are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments! Continue reading

Five Good Things

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  1. Best thing this week was a lovely visit from my mama! On Tuesday, we had a pizza party so she could meet some of my best NYC friends. On Wednesday, we looked at holiday store windows, wandered around the Met, and saw the musical Fiddler on the Roof. Also bagels!
  2. I finished All About Love, by Bell Hooks. My kind and wise roommate gave me this book for my birthday, and it was the best, best book for me to be reading post-election. Two guiding quotes that have felt particularly relevant are: “Cultures of domination rely of the cultivation of fear as a way to ensure obedience” & “A love ethic presupposes that everyone has the right to be free, to live fully and well. To bring a love ethic to every dimension of our lives, our society would need to embrace change.”
  3. Working on a new story! I don’t know if I mentioned finishing (for now) Revenge Play, which I’ve been working on for most of the year (well, most of the last two years actually). I’m really thrilled about being back in the first stages of creating a new story and the discovery process. It is *hopefully* going to keep my mind off of the querying/publishing process.
  4. End of year best book lists! I’m totally a sucker for these. I wrote one about the best new-to-me authors I read in 2016. I’ve also really enjoyed Book Riot’s Best Books of 2016 and BuzzFeed’s 19 of the Best YA Books of 2016 and The New York Times’ Notable Children’s Books of 2016. And there are so much more! I’m definitely adding to my TBR list!
  5. Tomorrow I’m going to one of my favorite bookstores, Housing Works, and listening to different authors read A Christmas Carol. If you are in or around NYC, then you should definitely stop by!