Bringing 2018 to a Close – My Top Ten Reads of the Year

My bookworms!

2018 is coming to its official close. I don’t know about you, but it’s been one long ass year for me. I wish I could say it had been a good one, but more than anything it’s been a struggle. There have been many up and many downs.

The New Year is upon us though! Soo, I wash away 2018 and welcome 2019.

While doing that, I have my big wrap up of the year where I give you my top ten reads! There were quite a few good books, but here are the ones that drove me crazy, made my heart explode, made me rage in the cage, made me drink (and 1. I’m talking about you), made me fall into puddly love.

Starting at 10…


10. We All Looked Up
Author: Tommy Wallach

We All Looked Up


9. The Rules of Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic


8. Summer of Fear
Author: Lois Duncan

Summer of Fear - SR


7. 1984
Author: George Orwell

1984 - flavorwire


6. Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone


6. Ender’s Game
Author: Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game


4. Smoke and Iron
Author: Rachel Caine

Smoke and Iron


3. The Darkest Star
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Scarlet Reader - The Darkest Child


2. Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber



1. Dark Calling
Author: Kresley Cole
Dark Calling


My Year in books on Goodreads: Here.





Find Me:




Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.


The Only Remedy For Love is to Love More (The Rules of Magic – A Book Review)

The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic #1)
Author: Alice Hoffman
Published: 2017

On Goodreads

The Rules of Magic

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt


Rules of Magic:

Do as you will, but harm no one.

What you give will be returned to you threefold.

Fall in love whenever you can.

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.  –Goodreads

On the edge of the sixties, Owens siblings, Vincent, Franny, and Jet are invited to Massachusetts to spend a summer with their odd and mysterious Aunt Isabelle, in that one town, in that one house on Magnolia street. Together, and on their own, they discover the many secrets surrounding the Owens family, and the magic. The town has always blamed the family for everything that has gone wrong, but that doesn’t deter them. If anything, it makes them embrace it all even more.

While the Owens siblings embrace their history, they also push it away, trying to refute this family curse. Love snags each of them, putting them on paths that will fulfill their happiness, lead to pain, and send them each on unexpected journeys—the sisters growing to become the aunts so well-known in Practical magic and Vincent leaving behind one life to start a fresh one.


This book was utterly gorgeous. If you’ve read and/or seen the movie, Practical Magic then you know this addition to it is going to be phenomenal. And it was. It really was. The storytelling was lush and filled with and heartwarming and heart-shattering beauty. I was swept away into one of the most incredible tales. It even begins with ‘Once upon a time’.  Just the way Hoffman writes whisks me away in a daydream-like wind. I was breathless and holding my aching heart from beginning to end.

Scarlet Reader - Rules of Magic

The start of the book was a little slow, but picked up really quickly. Each page, I was learning something new about the siblings and their family. This history was ever growing as they grew. This is definitely one of the greatest family lines of witches ever.

“Love as much as possible.”

The siblings were so independent of each other, yet they were close, protecting one another. Jet was falling in love hopelessly and letting it sweep her away. Franny was resisting it and risking a cold heart forever. And Vincent trying to find himself before he could find love. The way they each approached love is something we all can relate, in a way. Personally, I was tearing up with Franny because I could scarily relate to her the most. I don’t ever give my heart way, much like her, always fearing I am the one who will ruin my love and break him. I also believe in respect and trust first before jumping too far in. So, like Franny, I never let anybody get to close. I don’t want to ruin them and I also don’t want to be in pain. Painful, yes. Scary, you better believe it. The Owens were incredible in conquering their curse and living their lives to the fullest. It’s inspiring and my emotions were hitting a peak.

Love and magic intertwine and nearly seem like a single entity in this book and maybe they are the same in real life too. They certainly seem unbelievable, but create a feeling of wonder. As much as I believe in magic, and I totally do, I believe in love. But, like the Owens, it’s tricky and difficult to have. Do it anyway.

My senses were tingling from all of the imagery. It was vivid and powerful. I could smell the Owens’s garden and envision the walks they went on, feel how hard their hearts beat when they were experiencing that little curse called love, as well as feel the fear that shadowed those heavy thuds.  Each surprise was subtle and not overdone for shock value. It made the story even more realistic. Much like with me and everyone, these surprises whether of pain or loss show us what we’re made of and what we’re willing to do.

Scarlet Reader - Rules of Magic

Transitions were abrupt as were scene switches, but blended into each other. I really enjoyed how each parts of life were segments into parts, showing how the Owens moved forward. It didn’t feel glitchy with the cut of each scene, but reminded me of how movies and TV transition. It was perfectly placed and moved the book forward through its span of a lifetime perfectly, right up to the entrance of Sally and Gillian.



Finally getting to read this and Practical Magic, I am even more in love with this story. It’s powerful and all-consuming for me. I love magic and even more when it can be expressed with such elegance, enchantment, and (again) inspiring. This is going up on my favorites shelf and I will keep it in my heart to remind myself to be more open. IT’s with my heart that I’m terrified to take leaps. In the world today, I feel like it can be a little understandable.

Also, having read both books, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see a show made of their story. A full-fledged, in depth, show. Starz, HBO, Netflix, I’m calling you out!



“What’s meant to be is bound to happen, whether or not you approve.” (p. 17)

“If you plan on calling yourself a scientist you should be aware that odds don’t matter. The natural world defies statistics.” (Franny to April, p. 89)

“In life we don’t always get what we choose. I gave her what she needed.” (Isabelle to Franny, p. 126)

“Don’t waste time when there’s someone you love.” (Vincent to Haylin, p. 243)

“I just do the best I can to face what life brings. That’s the secret, you know. That’s the way you change your fate.” (Isabelle, p. 258)

“It was said that fate could not be altered, except by one thing and that was war.” (p. 266)


More to come soon…



P.S. Song today? Go Your Own Way by Lissie.


Find Me:




Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

Mind Over Phobias…and Curses (A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares – A Book Review)

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares
Author: Krystal Sutherland
Published: 2017

On Goodreads

Semi Definitive List of worst Nightmares - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

A family.

A curse.

A greatest fear.

Esther’s family has been haunted by a curse. See, each family member dies from their fear. Dad is agoraphobic. Mom is terrified of bad luck. And her twin cannot be in the dark. All of this leads to Esther living an interesting life.Esther is searching for hers and has an ever-growing list of phobias that might be what she’s cursed with.

When Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, a boy she used to know, she is left stranded at a bus stop. He took everything down to the fruit roll-up and that list of possible fears. They make a strange pair, but Jonah is determined to help Esther through her list. Turns out, she may be afraid of the one thing she didn’t even think about. Love.

This book started out curious and intriguing and snowballed into me loving it a LOT. This was upbeat, yet personally heavy. An incredibly unique story not only about fears and approaching fear, but also dealing with anxiety and other mental illnesses. This book made them so vivid real. For people who don’t fully understand what it’s like, they’ll get a close up

Scarlet Reader - Perfect

There are so many more phobias than I have ever thought about. (Here’s a site where you can have a look for yourself-here.)My best friend has countless. I love her to pieces and always ALWAYS support her and encourage her that it’s okay. It’s no joke to make fun of a person who has them whether they are rational or not. They give people some serious anxiety. I always try to help her work on them, but it’s easier said than done. Mostly, I try be the comic relief. It’s not dumb or ridiculous. I worry about her, but I know she’s a toughie. There are just some things that affect us. I have a fear of spiders sometimes, but that’s because they think I’m a jungle gym. My fight with the dark is worse than an on again off again relationship. More than anything, failure and the thought that I am greatly unneeded, are what often haunts me. By unneeded I don’t mean being a needy human. No, I mean that I have no purpose on this planet and am useless. These fears and matched anxieties are ones I am working on overcoming every day. We should all work on overcoming our fears. Oh, and heights. Heights are tricky because I’m not afraid of climbing them. It’s the idea of falling from them. And I certainly WON’T divulge on my clown fear. They eat people, people! *shivers*

The characters were phenomenal. Seriously. BRAVA. complex, diverse, and opposite of each other. Esther was extremely awesome. From being determined to face her fears even though some of them are pretty scary to dressing up as inspiring characters, both real and fiction, she was brave, strong, and human. Whether she realized it or not, people were drawn to her. Jonah Smallwood, for example. Funny and kind, he was the hot sauce on her ice cream. Sounds gross, but trust me, it’s so GOOD! So spicy and sweet. A fantastic combination if there ever was one. He supports her with no cruelty or frustration or impatience that could be normally received from somebody who doesn’t have any understanding of what it’s like to feel an uncontrollable amount of fear that just squeezes tightly around you like a boa constrictor, taking the air right out of you. He’s even kind to her whole family, not judging or distancing himself just because they have their beliefs with their phobias. I completely melted.

Dead of Winter

The style of story was buoyant, like floating in an air balloon, or so I imagine-the balloon part. All floaty, though there’s that bit of nervousness because all you’re in is a human-sized picnic basket with a massive balloon and a blazing torch keeping it up. So, a little nerve-shaking. But, the view is impeccable. Completely breathtaking and totally worth it. This book is definitely breathtaking. Invigorating even, but I can relate to it so much. The rule-breaking, risk-taking, and life-changing moments were unbelievable. Lighthearted, yet intense and heartbreaking. Just magical with so many emotions so perfectly placed and written.

The ending left me with my jaw on the floor. While the exploration of mental illness was quite serious, I was still left shocked because there was a twist! I was guessing on and off throughout the book about Esther’s serious need to face-off with Death and by the end I was breathless. I had to read it twice. I can’t give too much away, but I was stunned.



Tackling a real world issue in a light of bravery and determination. This wasn’t about love conquering all. It was about overcoming an all-consuming struggle. It encourages understanding for those who face not only fears, but actual illnesses that most people don’t believe


“God, so basic. I can’t decide what would be more tragic, dying at seventeen, or having the most cliché funeral ever.” (Esther, p. 9)

“Fears can’t become full-blown phobias if you avoid them, and phobias can’t kill you if you don’t have them.” (Esther, p. 60)

“Tolkien knew a lot of stuff, but he knew nothing about the dark souls of moths. No way a moth would’ve helped Gandalf. Least believable part of Middle-earth.” (Esther, p. 94)

“Murals were a well-known-gateway drug to feelings, and she couldn’t have any of that.” (Esther, p. 101)

“Depression was a real sneaky asshole.” (Esther, p. 147)

“Love was a trap, a sticky trap of molasses meant to bind two people together. It was a thing that couldn’t be escaped, a weight that people strapped to their own legs before they waded into the water and wondered why they drowned.” (Esther, p. 268)

“Everyone we let into our lives has the power to hurt us. Sometimes they will and sometimes they won’t, but that’s not a reflection of us, or our strength. Loving someone who hurts you doesn’t make you weak.” (Eugene, p.315)

More to come soon…


P.S. Song today? Lucky Day in Hell by Eel.

Find Me:



Thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.

Halloween Book Tag

Scarlet Reader - Halloween


Halloween Book Tag!


It’s the most wonderful (and scary and fun and candylicious) time of the year!!

Scarlet Reader - dancing candy corn

That’s right. Halloween time! The best time!

Scarlet Reader - Halloween

I have a book tag dedicated to just that! I was looking around for one, but decided on one of my own. It’s fun and quick and I love sharing my interests with you!

When answering, use a book you’ve read or really want to read!

Something new…

A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares – Krystal Sutherland

Semi Definitive List of worst Nightmares - The Scarlet Reader

Something old…

The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

Scarlet Reader - Haunting of Hill House

A book with an orange cover.

Into the Cold Fire (Daughters of the Moon #2) – Lynne Ewing

( I don’t usually like picking books from the middle of a series, and usually only go with the first book, but this cover is a favorite of mine and the series is so original.)

Scarlet Reader - Into the Cold Fire

A scary book

Jay’s Journal – Anonymous

Jay's Journal

A book with witches

Practical Magic- Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic

A book with werewolves

Blood and Chocolate – Annette Curtis Klaus

(Do Not Judge Me LOL.)

B+C - banned Library

A book with vampires

Morganville Vampires: Glass Houses – Rachel Caine

(Actually the whole darn series <3)

Scarlet Reader - Morganville Vampires: Glass Houses &amp; The Dead Girls Dance

A book with one of your greatest fears

Awake – Natasha Preston


A fairy tale gone dark

Valiant – Holly Black

Valiant - Goodreads

An edge of your seat thriller.

There’s Someone Inside Your House – Stephanie Perkins

There's Someone Inside Your House

Three scary/paranormal/thrilling/magical books you’ll be reading this month!

Bloodlines – Richelle Mead

Bloodlines - The Scarlet Reader


The Space Between (hopefully) – Brenna Yovanoff

Space Between


Caraval – Stephanie Garber


If they’d like to participate, I’m tagging:

Always Trust In Books

A Cat. A Book, and A Cup of Tea

The Book Raven

A Court Of Coffee And Books

Trang (Bookidote)


Everyone feel free to partake! Just don’t forget to tag me since this is my book tag. 😉


More to come soon…



Find Me:




Thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.

Buzz Buzz Little Crow (Black Bird of the Gallows – A Book Review)

Black Bird of the Gallows (Black Birds of the Gallows #1)
Author: Meg Kassel
Published: 2017

On Goodreads

black bird of the gallows - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt


A simple but forgotten truth:

Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues of soon be full.

Angie Dovage knows there’s more to Reece Fernandez than the tall, athletic boy of mystery that the whole school is swooning over, just like he can tell there’s more to her than the spazzy band-geek. When he tells her that him being here, in her town, means a great tragedy will strike, she knows he must be full of it, right? But then why is there a murder of crows always around him? Why is he sneaking off and to who know where?

When something dark and supernatural attacks Angie, she’s lucky that Reece is there to help her. Then fellow students and people around town have been going crazy. She’s left with more questions than answers. There’s a battle between good and evil, chaos and death, she never saw coming. In the middle of it all, and which is a bad idea, she may or may not be falling in love with a harbinger of death


The cover of this book is utterly gorgeous and breathtaking!!!!! If that didn’t make me curious enough, then the mysterious back cover did. All around, this book drew my interest and I enjoyed it! It was quirky and funny mixed with the drama of teenage love mixed with the chaos of an intriguing mythos around the harbinger of death and creator of chaos.

Scarlet Reader - Excited

the approach to magic was genius and unique. Major disasters became so much more. So did animal mythos. Evil bees? I love bumble bees so I surprised when they were used as a force of evil. The logic behind was awesome though. Same with crow. It was like the dark met the light and the light met the dark in this book and was sprinkled with love and a hint of tragedy from the main characters. Everybody has a little tragedy though, right?

Scarlet Reader - Black Bird of the Gallows

The magic was incredibly enchanting, yet dark, reminiscent of Sleeping Beauty in that way. It wasn’t overbearing, but perfectly fitting into everyday life, perfectly hidden. This design was beautiful.

Angie was both interesting and not. There were times I wasn’t into her. She’s a teenager, so she’s going to have those dramatic moments, but her tone came off goofy. She rambled off from time to time and it seemed pointless. But I loved her relationships with her dad and her friends and how mixed up she felt for Reece. I admired her passion. It was louder than a bass dropping at a rave.

I love Love LOVED the style and unique vocabulary that Kassel used to sweep this book away. It was brilliant and refreshing and kept my attention with such enthusiasm. I giggled. I felt my heart break. I was swelling with emotion and engulfed in the words.



I’ve never read anything like this before. Something that was both enchanting and chaotic and tragic and yet, filled with love. My big problem? The ending felt hugely rushed and vague and confusing. I was as clueless as Angie and Reece were, but more so because there was no real hint as to how everything happened. And the special possibility about magic in Angie’s family? It didn’t feel very solid. I was more fascinated than anything so it was easy to let those bits slide. I feel like they’ll possibly come into play in later books, which I hope to read someday.



“Crack your bones and eat the marrow, snap your spines like broken arrows.” (p. 104)

“…I don’t kiss guys who don’t tell me what planet they’re from.” (Angie, p. 119)

“Death doesn’t require a prediction. It’s an inevitability.” (Reece, p. 128)


More to come soon…



P.S. Song today? Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles


Find Me:




Thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.


Double Double Witchy Toil and Drama (Double Eclipse – A Book Review)

Double Eclipse (Summer on East End #2)
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Published: 2016

On Goodreads

Double Eclipse - Goodreads

My Rating: Full boltFull bolt Full boltFull bolt


Dear Diary…we’re back.

Twin witches, Molly and Mardi Overbrook are spending another summer in East End with their aunts, Freya and Ingrid. This year they’re avoiding trouble and dedicating themselves to actually enjoying their summer. Mardi is hoping to deepen her new relationship with her boyfriend, Trent and Molly is hoping to forget about her disaster of a relationship from last year. She does just that when she meets the son of the local bartender, Rocky.

When their mother shows up with a mysterious prophecy involving the two of them, their vacation as well as their sisterhood is threatened. Their having strange dreams, father, the great Thor, is hurt, and their emotions are causing strange surges with their powers. They must try to come together if they hope to calm the coming storm that threatens all of East End.


Triple Moon

Triple Moonhere

In another whirlwind of a summer, the girls are discovering even more about themselves and that comes with a large amount of magic and heartbreak. Great turmoil grows between Mardi and Molly as their mom tries to get them to fulfill a prophecy.

Double Eclipse

I’m super excited that I finally got to the sequel of Triple Moon. The fire and fierceness was still crackling in this book with Molly and Mardi getting their feisty witchiness on.

This book picks up the summer following last in Triple Moon. The style is steady and really stayed in tune with the characters and the previous book. Mardi and Molly stayed true to themselves; Mardi being fierce and bold, and Molly being elegant and timeless. With new bombs dropping on the Overbrook twins, so many secrets and issues came to light, really testing the twins’ bond. All that magic tied in? Oh boy…

The POV changed up since the first book. The book still flips between Molly and Mardi which is really neat because while they are twins, they are incredibly different. But, the story is told from their diaries which is unique. It adds to their character, Molly being more classic with writing in a diary and Mardi writing on what I’m guessing is either her cell phone or a laptop.

Double Eclipse - Scarlet Reader

(And when I think about it, Nina Dobrev would be a nice fit as the Overbrook twins.)

And the new hottie addition, Rocky, the new hottie on the scene, made me blush! Sadly, previous hottie, Trent, blipped out. It made me upset. He peeked in and then disappeared and I was really looking forward to seeing him again.

There were a lot of open ends left by the end that I had a few questions too. When that happens, I get irritated. According to Goodreads, there isn’t another book coming either, so I’m a little annoyed that those questions will remain unanswered. It drives me crazy!



This was like Gossip Girl meets Charmed. Double double toil and drama! Summer may be over, but this was a great summer read. Even though I had a lot questions at the end and it made me feel unfulfilled, I still loved it. It’s original and sparking with magic on every page.



“What is it with gods and secrets?” (Molly, p. 37)

“Life is not a gift that can be taken back. It belongs to all sentient creatures—forever.” (Janet, p. 106)


More to come soon…



P.S. Song today? All Good Things (Come to an End) by Nelly Furtado


Find Me:




Thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.

You’re Not Jay…(Jay’s Journal – A Book Review)

Jay’s Journal
Author: Anonymous
Published: 1979
On Goodreads

Jay's Journal

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt



On a cold January night, Jay put a pistol to his head and pulled the trigger.

He was sixteen.

Jay didn’t understand the point of keeping a journal. As a teenager, he’s hormonal and troubled and just trying to find his way. Suddenly, he’s sucked into a group of friends and convinced by his girlfriend to join in on witchcraft, Ouija boards, and demon summoning. As life takes a dark turn, Jay feels isolated with no chance to escape. His only escape are within the pages of this journal.


This book marks 14 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. I’ve met people who’ve read from Anonymous and they really liked the books. I wanted to open up to new authors and this was one of them.


Okay, this book seemed pretty upfront and not all that out of the norm. From my own point of view, magic is neither good nor bad. It’s the believer and practitioner and their intentions that determines whether the magic goes good or bad. So, when I read this, I was real effing shocked by the gradual darkness that swallowed Jay.

Jay's Journal

The magic went from interesting and nifty to dark side. It was unnerving and actually pretty damn scary by the end of the book, and I don’t scare that easy, but this…this was chilling.

Set in the 70s, Jay had an ordinary life. He had normal parents that he felt like were smothering him. Had a sibling, Chad, that looked up to him. It was the typical, nuclear family. More so, the language really promoted the period with such words as neat and Judas. It pulled me into it even more.

It was from Jay’s personal POV that we came across this story. That alone left me a little unnerved. The thing about a POV such as this is that you aren’t looking through a person’s eyes. You’re looking from their personal emotions. The way he recalled everything that happened and how it felt was haunting and unnerving. From out of body experiences to ESP, he wrote it all down. Most of the time he wrote in prose, but from time to time he wrote poetry, which I really liked. The emotions reached great highs and scary lows.

Jay's Journal

What made this book so scary? It’s all true. These are Jay’s real words that his mother allowed to be read by everyone. It’s her hopes that it’ll warn and help others.


This book was just amazing, creepy, and all around a perfect read. It encompassed the time period and emotions. My best friend officially wants to read this book. I recommend to fans of both fiction and nonfiction. This was crazy.




“Night…endless is thy name” (Jay, p. 21)

“All evil lurks inside and hides it so I cannot see. But it sees me.” (Jay, p. 168)


More to come soon…



P.S. Song today? Fleur Blanche by Orsten.


Find Me:




Thoughts? Tell me in the comment below.