Bookworm Interview: Jonathan Robertson

Want to get to know the BiblioSmiles contributors? Read below to find out more about Jonathan!


Q: Tell us about yourself in 100 words or less:

I’m a filmmaker in New York. I like The Rockford Files and I listen to a lot of Elvis Costello and Warren Zevon.

Q: What books did you love as a child?:

I learned to read from comic books. My grandfather owned a comic shop in New Jersey in the 80s, and when he closed it in the early 90s, he kept all of his leftover stock, which was about 5,000 books. He wanted to sell them off, but never got around to it, so throughout my childhood, there was always a basement full of comics to read, which he arranged into a mini-comic shop, just for me.


Q: What kinds of books do you love now?

I started reading Raymond Chandler when I was in high school, and that got me going on a crime fiction kick that’s never really slowed down. From Chandler, I went for Dashiell Hammett, which led to George V. Higgins and Elmore Leonard, plus Erle Stanley Gardner, Jim Thompson, Lawrence Block… Great googly moogly, the list goes on and on.

Extra special shout out to Darwyn Cooke’s adaptation of Richard Stark’s Parker books. Those are some beautiful graphic novels!

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Q: Where’s your favorite place to sit down and read?

Sitting across the couch, probably with my feet up.

Q: Do you set any goals for yourself as a reader?

I try to not read the same authors over and over again. I love finding new ones and old ones that I’ve never encountered before. Just listening to recommendations and wandering through book stores has led me to find things like The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard and A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin.

Q: Have you ever met any of your favorite authors? What was that like?

I met Werner Herzog when he was signing Conquest of the Useless. He makes these awe-inspiring, bleak, and often brutal films, but he was so humble and sincere. It was a fantastic experience.

Q: How do you mark your place in a book?

Dog eared pages or the flap of a dust jacket.

Q: What books are you on your “must read” list?

52 Pickup by Elmore Leonard, A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler, Of Walking in Ice by Werner Herzog, Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro, All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Rebel Without a Crew by Robert Rodriguez, Fatale by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

Q: Here’s a famous question: if you could have dinner with any author, living or dead, who would you choose and why? Where would you go, and what would they order for dinner?

Tough one… Part of me says “Hemingway,” but I feel like we’d spend the whole meal drinking grappa and talking about him (and he didn’t exactly have a sense of humor, particularly about himself…).

So I think I’d have to go with Elmore Leonard. He always spoke so frankly about writing and the writing process – I’ve always admired his honesty. It’s reflected in his writing as well – there’s nothing extemporaneous in his prose.
We’d hang out, probably in Detroit, at a Tigers game, which means beer and hot dogs all around. I don’t even know if we’d talk about books, but I’m sure it’d be a nice time.

Q: What’s your favorite post you’ve written for BiblioSmiles? What’s your favorite post that someone else has written?

I wrote a piece about books not matching their cinematic counterparts, and how that should be expected and even celebrated – you can read it here.

And I’m a sucker for the Anatomy of a Bookshelf series. I love getting a glimpse into someone’s personality via their bookshelf.

Jonathan Robertson is a New York based filmmaker who will never be as cool as Steve McQueen. And that crushes him. But he still tries. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @itsjonrobertson for musings on film, literature, and occasionally Mexican food.

Interview: The Book Bratz

(Editor’s Note: I’m so pleased to have the co-hosts of the Summer Blogger Promo Tour here on BiblioSmiles today: Amber and Jessica of The Book Bratz! I want to thank them for creating this awesome opportunity for book bloggers to “meet” each other and share our thoughts and experiences with one another. They stopped by to answer some questions about book blogging with a best friend.  Check out their answers below and then stop by their blog and say hi!)

The Book Bratz


Thank you so much for running the Summer Blogger Promo Tour! Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your blog, The Book Bratz?

Jessica: Absolutely! Amber and I have been blogging together for over a year now, but that isn’t where our friendship started. We met at five years old and have been good friends for a long time that bond over their mutual love of books. I actually started the blog with Amber and just did it as a fun pastime. I never expected that I’d change my whole life plan – but I did! Now I’m going to be going to college to work in the publishing industry – that’s how awesome this has all been. Working with The Book Bratz showed me what I really want to do with my life, and I love it.

Amber: Blogging isn’t a pass time for me anymore. It is a job. I spend more hours a week working on the blog then I do at my actual job! The Book Bratz is a YA book blog (with a few NA reviews thrown in time to time) that started off for fun because we were bored high school girls.

You’ve been friends for a long time. How has running a blog together been for your friendship?

Jessica: It’s been great! I think that because we both are friends outside of the internet world, we get a lot more done. We spend all day talking and texting about new blog ideas, and we’re always discussing something having to do with The Book Bratz (and our other friends are starting to get sick of it, LOL). We have a great working dynamic and everything works out perfectly.

Amber: In all honestly it brought us closer. In high school it is hard to keep in touch with someone if you don’t seem them everyday. Jessica is an AP student and I am in regular classes so ours paths rarely cross, texting everyday about what is next on the blog and just random things keeps us close. I can literally tell Jessica anything.

Do you each have different duties on The Book Bratz?

Jessica: Somewhat! We both write reviews, but I’m super-organized so I’m usually the one Tweeting the links each day, sending out emails, and keeping up with the archives. Amber’s definitely the bigger galley reader, because I despise reading ebooks and she loves it, so I usually read the physical ARCs and she deals with Netgalley and EW. She’s also really good with HTML and computers so all of the blog designs are her doing!

Amber: Pretty much what Jessica said! She also keeps me organized because I am not an orderly person at all!

What are your goals as bloggers?

Jessica: My personal goal is to be successful. The Book Bratz grows every single day and gains more popularity and followers, and it makes me so happy. I love being able to just attend book events and say I work at The Book Bratz and to hear some people say back, “Oh, I read your blog!” It’s such a wonderful feeling and my goal is for that to keep happening. I want The Book Bratz to become one of those big blogs that all of the blogging newbies look up to.

Amber: Me and Jessica have the same mind. I swear. She is stealing all of my answers.

What are some of your favorite blogging-related memories? A fun event you got to attend? An advanced copy of a book you got to read?

Jessica: My favorite blog-related memory was actually pretty sad, in retrospect. It was way back when we first started blogging, and Amber and I were talking and she was all disappointed and worried that the blog was going to be a flop because we didn’t have many followers or much blog traffic. I distinctly remember telling her that I know that things would get better, and that the blog would grow by leaps and bounds. Shortly after, it started happening, and I was right. 🙂 A fun event we got to attend was definitely BookCon these past two years. We get tons of books and meet tons of authors and blogger friends – it’s so awesome! And my favorite ARC that I got to read would definitely be Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway (Thanks, HarperTeen!).

Amber: My favorite memory? Forgetting to finish my half of a post and it posting. Then the 6 am text were we are scrambling to take it down. It has happened more often then we like to admit. Fun event? BookCon! Favorite ARC? That is a hard one. I really can’t answer that!

What’s your favorite part about the book blogosphere?

Jessica: All of the other bloggers! Running The Book Bratz has made us meet so many awesome blogger friends, online and in person. It’s a great experience!

Amber: Everyone is so supportive of each other! You can tweet that you are having a bqad day and fifteen people will tweet you back with hugs and stuff. It’s great!

If you could give some advice to aspiring book bloggers, what would you want them to know?

Jessica: If you’re debating whether or not to run a book blog, I highly advise you to do it. It’s the most fantastic experience you will ever encounter. You learn how to be professional, work with publishers and authors, and you also meet tons of new friends and form relationships that will extend beyond the Internet. 🙂

Amber: I agree to everything Jessica said but also: It is like a full time job. You need to have time to be able to dedicate yourself to writing blog posts and getting things done on time.

Finally, my favorite question: if you could have dinner with any fictional character, who would you choose and why?

Jessica: Oooh, this is a good one! I’d have to say Alaska Young from Looking for Alaska because she sounds like a total bada** and we have the same ideas about certain topics. Plus, I’d like to find out what happened to her.

Amber: Roth from The Dark Elements series. I would love to be able to chat him up for a while!


Amber & Jessica (The Book Bratz) are both high school girls and longtime good friends. They started The Book Bratz back in 2014 and spent all of their free time reading and fangirling about books. Some of their favorite activities include reading, writing, sleeping, eating, and texting (duh). Today, The Book Bratz and its followers have grown tremendously and they’re super excited to be the co-hosts of the 2015 Summer Blogger Promo Tour! Drop on by to and say hi – it’s always a good time!

Interview: Erin from The Hardcover Lover

(Editor’s Note: As part of the Summer Blogger Promo Tour, I’m so thrilled to introduce Erin from The Hardcover Lover, who will be sharing some insight with you today. Read her interview about teaching below, leave some comments, and be sure to pop on over to her blog to say hello!)

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Tell us a bit about your blog, The Hardcover Lover.

I started my blog, The Hardcover Lover, in July of 2014 for a few different reasons. One was boredom – I was posting all these reviews on Goodreads, and I felt like they just died. I felt like what I had to say mattered more than just to the people on my friends list.

I also kind of fell in love with young adult literature when I was in college. It was a requirement to take a YA literature class if you were an English education major, and so I found myself there, with literally no young adult reading experiences in my past. It’s safe to say that I was the black sheep because everyone had already read so many YA books, and the only one I’d really read was The Perks of Being a Wallflower. By the end of the class, I felt inspired, and I thought I’d try to write a YA book. That still hasn’t happened (but I do have a few synopses prepared just in case).

You’ll find a lot of YA book reviews on The Hardcover Lover, but I also review some middle grade. I’ve reviewed one new adult book and a few adult fiction books on my blog, but I mostly stick to YA because I really just enjoy it the most. I also participate in a few weekly memes, and even have one of my own – Soundtrack Saturday. Another feature I have is called Hardcover Lover Confessions where I confess something to my readers and it works as my idea of a discussion post.

You told me you have a certificate in English education.  That’s so cool!  What’s your favorite part about teaching?

I do! I really love connecting with kids. The best part is seeing the look on their faces when they finally understand something.

My favorite part of teaching is getting to teach pieces of literature. When I did my student teaching, I was lucky enough to be able to teach The Crucible by Arthur Miller, and it’s been my favorite experience thus far. I actually had them enact the play. It was just awe-inspiring to see the connections my students were able to make to the present day. Oh, and them running to class to start every day to get a “good part” really helped make me feel like a real teacher.

erin hardcover lover Being around pre-teens and teens, you must be “in the know” when it comes to reading trends.  What sorts of books do you find students reading?

Being that I’m a substitute and get to go to different buildings each day really helps me out here because you’re going to get a multi-layered answer.

I’ve seen a lot of fourth, fifth, and sixth graders with copies of Harry Potter. I was at one elementary school for three weeks straight, and not one day went by when I didn’t see a kid with a copy of one of Rowling’s books. I spent a lot of time with some fifth graders this year, and they all had to read Wonder by R.J. Palacio, and even though it was required reading, the kids loved it. A lot of them bought the companion book, and many of them even read the e-novellas.

In the middle schools and junior highs, I’ve seen a lot of dystopian literature, and I don’t blame them. Popular titles they carry include The Selection books by Kiera Cass, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie. The Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard is still going strong too, probably because of the immensely popular show, but I see girls with those all the time. John Green is also hugely popular at this age group.

Now to high school… They are a little more difficult to nail down, and I understand. I was young once too, and I kept my books in my backpack. A few students who I have talked to admit that John Green is one of their favorite authors. A lot of the young men have moved on from YA and have started to read adult fiction. I’ve seen quite a few teenage boys with mysteries and science fiction books.

What do you find most enlightening in your discussions with young people about books? 

To be honest, you get the most out of the middle schoolers. They are just so enthusiastic about what they read. I recently went on a seventh grade field trip, and a few of the girls found out that I was not a fan of one of their favorite authors. They kiddingly kicked me out of the dinner table!

When there’s time, it’s fun to be able to openly talk to them without the pressure of assignments. Many of them even remember, and they’ll come up to me just to ask me what book I’m reading.

What’s your stance on the big issue: Is it okay for adults to read YA literature?

Yes! A million times yes! As a teacher, I read YA so that I can be able to give a recommendation to a student, but I think it’s also important for adults (and especially parents) to read YA because it’s a different world. So much has changed since I was in high school, and it hasn’t even been a decade since. It’s a difficult world, and if adults are able to see that through the eyes of a teenager, I think they will be able to understand the kids of today.

Finally: if you could make one book required reading in school, what would you choose and why?

Oh boy! You know what… I’m going to go with a challenged/banned book for my answer because that’s just how my mind works. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky should be required reading for high schoolers. I just think there’s so much in it that kids can learn from reading it. Even though it was published in 1999, I think a lot of the themes are things that kids today are dealing with now more than ever.

(Erin – thanks again for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed this installment of the Summer Blogger Promo Tour.  Check back every Sunday in July and August for another post from a fellow book blogger. Be sure to visit the other bloggers involved in the hop; there are so many cool conversations happening!)


Erin (The Hardcover Lover) is a twenty-something-year-old book blogger from Pennsylvania and substitute teacher. When she’s not substituting, she’s reading the latest books and coming up with new bookish ideas for her blog, The Hardcover Lover. She loves collecting beach glass and bookmarks. She has two cats – Lizzie and Luna.

Author Interview: Adi Alsaid

Author Photo- Official I’m really pleased to share my interview with author Adi Alsaid, whose debut novel, Let’s Get Lost, received quite a bit of attention last year. School Library Journal had this to say about Let’s Get Lost: “Reminiscent of John Green’s Paper Towns (Dutton, 2008) and road trip novels that feature a teen paving the way to adulthood, Alsaid’s debut is a gem among contemporary YA novels.”

Alsaid’s second novel, Never Always Sometimes, is set to release on August 4th, and it’s already promising to be another gem: it’s received a starred review from Kirkus! I’m so thrilled that Alsaid took some time out of his schedule to answer some questions for you BiblioSmiles readers!

Q: Congratulations on the upcoming release of your second novel, Never Always Sometimes! What can readers expect from this new book? Let’s make it interesting – give us a Twitter-worthy answer! 140 characters or less.

Thank you! I’m so excited for the upcoming months leading up to the release, and of course the months after.

Readers can expect Dave and Julia to stumble. To feel their way out into the mostly unknown world and to either laugh, or to bang their shins painfully into furniture.

letsgetlost Q: You’ve received a lot of praise for your first novel, Let’s Get Lost (and with good reason!). Can fans expect to see any similarities in the story or the storytelling?

Thanks! I think fans of LGL will enjoy the character-driven aspects of the book, as well as the mix of humor, adventure, romance, and the occasional emotional moment. It’s a different kind of story, though, much more focused on these two characters rather than LGL’s epic, sprawling scope. Since my love of perspective shifts hasn’t gone away, readers can expect at least one of those to take place.

Q: How did the idea for Never Always Sometimes come to you? Did you know starting out how the novel would end, or did that come along as the novel progressed?

That’s a hard moment to pinpoint, but I think what drew me to this story was the always-conscious struggle as a teen between who you are and how you fit in to those around you. I wanted to zoom in on these best friends who’d been in their little happy world of two and see what happened when they left it, and when they discovered that those around them weren’t exactly what they’d imagined, that their relationship to each other might not have been what they’d thought.

The whole book was outlined from the start, but there were a good amount of changes throughout. One main change happened in the ending from the outline to when I actually wrote it, because it no longer made sense for the way the characters had come to life (which is always slightly different than how I envision when outlining).

neveralwayssometimes Q: What’s your writing routine like? Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring writers / procrastinators (ahem… like myself) who want to get their novels written?

On a day-to-day scale, I usually wake up and head straight to a coffee shop for a two to three hour session in the morning. Then I take a break for lunch and to coach basketball or any other number of activities (reading, watching a movie, long walks on what I imagine are beaches but can’t possibly be, since Mexico City has none), and I have another evening/night session for a couple of hours, either at another coffee shop or at home.

The specifics change depending on what project I’m working on, what my deadline looks like, what draft I’m on, etc. On a first draft, I try to do at least a thousand words a day, no exceptions, and I don’t stop until I reach that goal. I’ve definitely had to increase that on deadline, to something closer to 2,500 words a day.

Q: Never Always Sometimes introduces the idea of the high school cliche. What’s one cliche you’re guilty of?

I was definitely a shy kid cliché, getting crushes on girls and professing my love in handwritten letters or in imagined scenarios while lying in bed or in emails feverishly sent to confidante friends late at night.

Q: Why are you drawn to writing YA? Why do you think the young adult novel is so popular today?

I think the coming-of-age story has always been one of my favorite plot lines, and the YA coming-of-age tale is probably the best, since that’s when most of us experience our first major coming-of-age. Your teenage years are so formative, because you’re experiencing so many things for the first time. Independence, romance, broadening horizons. I think people like to be harkened back to their teenage years for a variety of reasons, either to relive the good parts, or maybe reimagine how it could have all happened. But it’s interesting to read about because we do (or at least I do) constantly think back to who we were then, to our experiences, and how they shaped us.

And two questions I like to ask in all my interviews:

Q: What’s one book you wish you could read again for the first time?

The collected Calvin & Hobbes.

Q: If you could have a meal with a fictional character, who would you choose and why?  (I can see on Twitter/Instagram you’re a bit of a foodie – so I look forward to your answer!)

Ah, this question was so hard to answer. I wanted a character that could share my love of food, maybe someone who could teach me a few things. After a few days of brainstorming, and maybe because I just reread it, I would choose Emilienne from The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. Mostly because I’ve been meaning to learn how to bake, but also because I’d love to be in that unique Seattle world she and her family inhabit.

Thanks again for having me!

Thank you for visiting! Be sure to follow along with Adi Alsaid on social media for contests, updates, and some yummy food photos: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Check out his blog here.

Danielle Villano is the editor of BiblioSmiles, and she is really glad you’re here. Learn more on the About page.  Tweet @daniellevillano.


Bookworm Interview: Alyson Lopez

Want to get to know more about the BiblioSmiles contributors? Read below to find out all about Alyson


Q: Tell us about yourself in 100 words or less:

My name is Alyson, and I don’t have a middle name or a nickname. I’m about to embark on my last semester of grad school and I’m a first year middle school science teacher. I’m a total science nerd, because duh. I love fashion from growing up in New York City and I’m always making ambitious plans, usually influenced by the book I’m reading, and it usually involves traveling.

But really, almost nothing makes me happier though than a good story that I can completely lose myself in, no matter the medium (photography, books, movies, blogs, TV shows, etc.) I enjoy living in a bubble with my head in the clouds.

Q: What books did you love as a child?

The entire Magic Tree House series started my love for reading and books. After that I devoured every fantasy story I could get my hands on. Elantris and The Inheritance Cycle were teenage favorites.

Q: What kinds of books do you love now?

I used to browse the fantasy/fiction section of Barnes and Noble, flipping through books until I found something I liked but then I found YA from a little quote on Tumblr that introduced me to John Green and Looking for Alaska. I’m sure some readers know the quote I’m talking about. I didn’t realize YA was the genre I loved until I started to really look at the books I loved and the ones I was starting to pick up.

I’m also trying to reconnect with my roots because I feel pretty white-washed. I’m Puerto Rican and Dominican but barely speak Spanish and as the years go on I lose touch with more and more of my roots. So aside from YA I also love stories I can relate to (let’s face it I’m not a teenager anymore); authors like Junot Diaz, and Raquel Cepeda seem to really understand that weird identity of being Dominican but growing up in NY, unlike our parents who don’t get it because they’re straight from the island.

So all in all, identity stuff and romance.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to sit down and read?

The train or Barnes and Noble. When living at home my commutes have always been long (1.5 hours for middle school, 1 hour for high school, 2 hours for summer classes in college). I like having having a long stretch of time disconnected from the rest of the world when I’m able to just get sucked into a story. If I don’t have as book I’ll just sleep on the train, and that’s way more boring.

Q: Do you set any goals for yourself as a reader?

I just want to read more. I read 27 books in 2014! Definitely a record for me.

Q: Have you ever met any of your favorite authors? What was that like?

No, but at BookCon this past year I saw John Green in the TFIOS panel and I pretty much died. I’m really bad about taking advantage of living in NYC when it comes to meeting authors. I’ve had lots of opportunities but never acted on them.

Q: How do you mark your place in a book?

Any which way. For a while after my best friend and I traveled to LA as my college graduation gift to myself I used used a bookmark from The Last Bookstore. But honestly I dog-ear my pages, or use what I can find, or sometimes I just try to memorize the last page I was up to. I’m pretty lax about it.

Q: What books are you on your “must read” list?

To Goodreads!
There’s like 40 books on my Goodreads “to read” list. So I’m not gonna go through all of that.

I’m into Gayle Forman right now, so since I finished If I Stay and Where She Went, I’m due to read Just One Day, Just One Year, and Sisters in Sanity.

I’m also slated to read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown for a book club I’m in.

Q: Here’s a famous question: if you could have dinner with any author, living or dead, who would you choose and why? Where would you go, and what would they order for dinner?

Junot Diaz or Raquel Cepeda. They’re both living, and I would just love to talk to them about how they found their identity and became comfortable finding that balance between the culture you’re from and the culture you live in now. I’d love to go to the Heights for some Dominican food and order the whole menu for us to share. Haha.

Q: What’s your favorite post you’ve written for BiblioSmiles? What’s your favorite post that someone else has written?

Let’s face it, I’m terrible at writing posts, but I’m pretty good at Instagram! I really liked the photo showing my fork as a bookmark on Thanksgiving. I laughed at myself for that. I really love the Anatomy of a Bookshelf posts, and hope to include my own sometime soon!

Alyson Lopez is a middle school science teacher who enjoys reading YA, dressing up, pretending to be an adult, and the finer things in life, like watching TV in bed with no pants on. She’s finishing up grad school this May and cannot wait to be done with being a student. It blows.

Book Blog Life: Kayla Dean

[Editor’s Note: I’m so happy to welcome Kayla, the newest BiblioSmiles contributor, to the site! I hope you enjoy learning about her and her book blog. I look forward to seeing what Kayla shares with us next!]

Here’s what you should know about me: I’m Kayla, a college student who loves the written word. My favorite things to do are read and write, although I also love music and sightseeing.

Here’s what you should know about my blog: My Corner of the Library is a place for book lovers, writers, and bloggers to share their love of books and the written word.

Review of Atlantia by Ally CondieI’d say my reading taste is geared towards: YA novels and the classics. I especially like anything fantasy or paranormal, but also love a good contemporary novel. I love reading Cassandra Clare, Richelle Mead, and Ally Condie, but I love reading from a variety of authors and voices.

The first book I really, really loved is: I loved Thumbelina when I was younger, but I can’t remember exactly which book sparked my love of reading. Reading itself inspired me to love words.

A book that I’m not a fan of is: I don’t want to say! I am not a fan of books that don’t transport me. It frustrates me when books don’t pull me into the world, or they feature clichés, unrealistic plotlines, or bad boyfriends.

Familiar Things by Lia HabelMy favorite thing about book blogging is: Sharing my love of books with other people who have the same interests, blogging about my writing process, and showing the things that I think make writing awesome.

The book(s) that I’m looking forward to reading next: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead. She is amazing, and her books are always good.

If I could have dinner with any book character, I would choose: That is a tough one. I like so many books, I don’t know if I have a favorite. If I had to choose, it would be one of Shakespeare’s characters – maybe Hamlet- because I like his beautiful soliloquies.

The best thing about reading is: Escaping to another world, but also learning lessons that teach us how to live better lives and better help other people. The stories that endure the most are the ones that impact us into the future.

Kayla Dean is a writer with a passion for words, books, and storytelling. She loves YA and the classics, and blogs encouragement for writers at her site

Meet Taylor of Novels and Nail Polish

I’m so happy I stumbled upon Taylor’s blog, Novels and Nail Polish. It’s always exciting to see bookworms showcasing their dedication to the written word in new, unique ways. Fans of art, books, and beauty are sure to fall in love with Taylor’s nail designs, her friendly blogging voice, and her fun posts. Thanks for stopping by to answer some questions, Taylor!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetQ: Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m Taylor, a Southern California native who graduated a couple of years ago from the University of Southern California (Fight On!). I worked at Disneyland for 6 years, and now work at a PR Firm in Downtown LA doing social media for lifestyle, baby & kids and food & beverage clients. Obviously I love books and painting my nails, but also grew up in the musical theatre world, performing for anyone who would listen!

Q: Where did you get your idea for you blog, Novels and Nail Polish?
I’ve always been a huge reader. I was the kid in high school that read for fun and enjoyed the assigned books (except for Heart of Darkness)! And in college, I would paint my sorority sisters’ and my nails all the time for various events. At one point, as I was reading Looking for Alaska by John Green, I thought to myself, “I wonder what this would look like on my nails?” And the rest is history!

Q: Do you know right from the moment you see a book cover that you want to create nail art to go with it? Or does that decision happen after you finish a book?
It can really happen either way. I don’t do a manicure for every single book I read, so there has to be something special that inspires me, whether it be content or appearance. Sometimes I’m inspired by designs and shapes on the cover, while other times I gravitate toward themes and messages that the novel conveys. Even when it is thematically inspired, the colors of the book usually are the starting point for the manicure!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetQ: As a reader, what kind of books do you gravitate towards?
I naturally drift toward the YA section of Barnes & Nobles, whether it’s contemporary, dystopian or post-apocalyptic. I also enjoy a nice contemporary chick-lit or Dan Brown-esque suspense novel every once in a while!

Q: Are there any kinds of books you will NOT read?
I like to think I’m pretty open-mined when it comes to books, but one genre I don’t read very much of in general is romance. Nothing against it, I just like a little more action!

Q: Do you have any book recommendations for us?
If you’re up for a classic and a challenge, my favorite book of all time is Gone With The Wind! But if you’re looking for something a bit more modern, two of my favorite series right now are The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer and The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I was a Tour Guide at the Disneyland Resort for 6 years, so I adore anything Disney, and The Lunar Chronicles is a fantastic fairytale retelling series! The Grisha Trilogy is set in an incredible fictional world that I would love to be part of, and the heroine of the story is extremely well written!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetQ: If you could have dinner with a fictional character, who would you choose and why? And what would you guys eat?
Is it predictable if I pick someone from Harry Potter? 🙂 I’d love to order pizza with Dumbledore and listen to him talk about his life and experiences! The Wizarding World is definitely one of my favorites. Now, if we’re going for a fancy dinner party, I’d love to gossip over a cocktail with Scarlett O’Hara!

Q: I’m sure there are quite a few bookworms who’d love to sport your nail polish designs. Do you have any tips or tricks for beginner nail artists?
Don’t be afraid to experiment! So many times I’ve had an idea for a manicure that doesn’t end up looking good no matter how many times I try. And after polishing and removing three or four times, the design morphs into something I end up loving. Thankfully, nail polish is easy to remove and start over! Just keep practicing and scouring Pinterest for inspiration!

Q: How about some social media love? Where can we follow you on social media?
You can join me and my bookish nail polish adventures on Instagram (@NovelsandNailPolish), Facebook (, Twitter (@Taylor_Justine) or Pinterest (, and of course, read all about my designs on my blog Novels and Nail Polish!

Thanks for sharing your answers and photos with us, Taylor! Readers: have you ever attempted a book-centric manicure? What book do you think deserves some nail art?

Danielle Villano is the editor of BiblioSmiles, and you can visit her new writing website here.  Tweet @daniellevillano.