Top Ten Friends First Romances

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Happy Valentine’s Day! In case you haven’t notices, I LOVE romances. I love reading them. I love writing them. There are very few “tropes” within romance that I don’t like, but one of my absolute favorites is when friends fall in love. Maybe this is a little spoilery, but here are ten books about romances between friends that I adore. Whether you like romance or hate it, whether you are currently in love or single, I hope you have a lovely day. Hit me with your favorite literary romances, friends first or otherwise! Continue reading

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

the-smell-of-other-peoples-housesI *may* have recently joined a YA book club that is totally out of my league. I mean, I did join the book club. Now, I just need to keep going and not 100% embarrass myself. This week, we got together to discuss The Smell of Other People’s Houses, by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock. It’s not a typical YA read, at least not for me. Set in 1970s Alaska, the book follows four alternating teenage narrators. Stealing from the back cover: Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger. Four very different lives are about to become entangled. 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