Bookish Tuesday

Favorite Pages in My Book Journal

So I’ve decided to mix it up a bit in order to keep myself accountable for regular posts and moved Bookish Friday to Tuesday and made it, therefore, Bookish Tuesday! My book journal is pretty epic. As an avid reader, I’ve collected many book journals over the years and have now create my own, based on my favorite topics from all the previous book journals I’ve had. The Table of Contents for the current incarnation is a separate page located here under Bookish Lists, Reviews & How-To’s.

Books That Made Me Cry

The best books are the ones that make you feel. And while most of us don’t love to be brought to tears of sadness in our every day lives, some of the best books as the ones that made use shed many tears. Highlights include: The Nightingale, The Montmaray Journals, and most other WWII novels among others.

Signed Books I’ve Read

I love to go meet authors and hear their stories about how their books came to be. The best part is when I’ve read the book before meeting the author and already love it, but I also love being intrigued by an author and then reading their book and loving it! I’ve decided to include the book pictures below, but for my favorite author encounters, they can be found here and here.

Literary Crushes & Book Boyfriends

Yes, I’m happily married. Yes, I still get excited about a great fictional man. Favorites include: Rhys in A Court of Mist & Fury by Sarah J. Maas, Henry in Royally Matched by Emma Chase, and Hideo in Warcross by Marie Lu

Bookish Tuesday

A Book Buyer’s Top Picks for Fall

In my role as assistant manager/adult book buyer at an independent bookstore, I get to meet with sales reps from all the big publishing houses, as well as a number of smaller ones. Below are the books that they, and I, are most excited for this fall!

1. The Kennedy Debutante by Kerri Maher

Kennedy Debutante

Publisher: Berkley Books, a division of Penguin Random House
Pub Date: October 2, 2018
Format & Price: Hardcover, $28 list price
Genre: Historical Fiction, main character was a real person

I have been enamored with Kick Kennedy’s life for a number of years – I’ve read biographies of her, fiction where she is featured, and now she’s getting her very own historical fiction interpretation. It’s mostly the love story of her early twenties, but also paints a vivid portrait of World War II England and Washington D. C. Well known historical figures make cameos throughout the book, including the rest of the Kennedy clan!

2. Becoming by Michelle Obama


Publisher: Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House
Pub Date: November 13, 2018
Format & Price: Hardcover, $32.50 list price
Genre: Memoir/Autobiography

She was in the White House for 8 years and is an overall inspiring woman. This book is definitely close to the top of my Christmas wish list and will be a gift that I give to most of the women in my family. Regardless of how you feel about her husband’s politics and policies, Michelle’s approval rating hardly wavered.

3. My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper


Publisher: Scribner Book Company, a division of Simon & Schuster
Pub Date: October 9, 2018
Format & Price: Hardcover, $26 list price
Genre: Memoir/Autobiography

I, like most other female millennials, fell in love with Ellie Kemper of the adorably lovable and naive Kimmy Schmidt. And if you’ve never watched The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, you’ve probably seen her in The Office. I can’t wait to hear what stories she has to tell about her life. They’re sure to make me laugh!

4. The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar


Publisher: Harper, a division of Harper Collins
Pub Date: September 11, 2018
Format & Price: Hardcover, $28.99 list price
Genre: Historical Fiction/Magical Realism

When I tell you that this book was everywhere in the UK, it was in the front windows of just about every bookstore my sister and I happened upon in June. The advance copy is still sitting on my shelf at home, but I will get to it soon, hopefully before it’s actual release date here in the States! I always enjoy a good book with some magic thrown in and The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock seems like it would be right up my alley!

5. Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand


Publisher: Little Brown & Company, a division of Hachette Book Group
Pub Date: October 9, 2018
Format & Price: Hardcover, $28 list price
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

After Lisa Scottoline, Elin Hilderbrand is our bestselling local author. But Sarah, I thought she lived in Nantucket? You’re right, she does. But she grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, where our store is located, and her mother is a regular customer and we do an event with her in some way shape or form each time a new book of hers is released. And for the fact that I’ve met her a half dozen times, I’ve never read one of her books so I figure now is the time to start!

What books are you looking forward to most this fall?

Bookish Tuesday

UK Bookstores

Bookish Friday is once again coming to you on a Saturday. I’m sorry. When Laura and I first started planning my visit last month to London (and Edinburgh, and the English Countryside), we decided to squeeze in as many bookstore visits as possible. As the manager of an Indie store, we tried very hard not to visit a Waterstones, but admittedly slipped up (we didn’t know Hatchards was owned by them…) Here’s a review of the ones we visited, all of which we loved!

1. Blackwell’s

We visited two Blackwell’s, one in Edinburgh, and the flagship in Oxford. A very well established, family owned chain, there was hardly a thing we couldn’t find here. Favorite part? The mystery books (not the genre, but books wrapped in brown paper pictured below).

Blackwells Oxford2

2. Daunt Books

The most Instagrammable of all the bookstores in London, Daunt is arranged geographically and includes not only travel books for all parts of the world, but literature from those places as well! A really cool store to browse.

Daunt Books2

3. Foyles

Foyles’ flagship store on Charing Cross Road in London is five floors, has an epically hipster cafe, and is the shop where I found one of our regular customer’s books on the shelf, along with all of Anthony Bourdain’s books that were all going through reprints here in the states.


4. Hatchards

The oldest bookstore in London deserved a visit, especially after Anthony Horowitz visited the bookstore I work at and told me it was his favorite in London. Downside, we learned it was owned by their chain, Waterstones, which was a bit of a letdown.


Bookish Tuesday, Non-Fiction

Favorite Nonfiction

As I’m currently listening to Kitchen Confidential and crying randomly about how the world is worse off without Anthony Bourdain’s storytelling, I’ve been thinking more and more about the nonfiction that has touched my heart just as much as works of fiction.

1. Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain

My first Bourdain. Like your first cocktail or boyfriend or first trip abroad or first food that you really, truly loved, you never forget your first Bourdain.


2. #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

Need some inspiration? Decided it’s time to make a change in your life? Pick #Girlboss, Sophia does not disappoint.


3. The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich

Thought you knew a lot about World War II? Think again. The stories these women share are absolutely incredible and many will shake you to the core.

20180527_142714 2

4. Dead Wake by Erik Larson

Dead Wake was the book that first made me realize that I can read nonfiction and like it. He epitomizes the phrase “novelistic nonfiction.”

Dead Wake

5. Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik

One cannot call oneself a feminist without having read about the greatness that is Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Notorious RBG

Bookish Tuesday

Favorite Beach Reads

Since I’m at the beach, I figured I should do a beach reads post! I tend to gravitate towards YA fantasy for quick reads (my goal is always a book a day and I usually get it) and books that I know I’ll love. (All pictures taken at a beach)

1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

A fun heist set in a winter climate is the perfect book to chill you off on a hot day in the sun!

2. Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain

You can never go wrong with Tony in any season, but especially worth a read this summer.

3. Everland by Wendy Spinale

A fun Peter Pan inspires dystopian fantasy, Everland is readable in a single sitting.

4. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

One always needs an SJ Maas book for the beach!

5. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo is always a favorite.

Bookish Tuesday

Favorite Books Set in the UK

It’s been a crazy week. I haven’t actually finished a book in over two weeks, and didn’t write my last two scheduled reviews… and I’m getting ready to leave for London on Tuesday to spend some quality time with my sister. Needless to say, my head is spinning a bit with everything that needs to be done both at work and at home before I go. But I just can’t stop thinking about how great it will be to actually take a trip in less than a week. So for that reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about my favorite UK based books. Some of my favorites (seven) are below, in no particular order, and all titles link to the review!

1. The Royal We by Heather Cox & Jessica Morgan

Basically, Will & Kate fanfiction, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.
Setting: Oxford & London

Royal We

2. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

Could this list be complete without Harry Potter? No, I daresay, it could not.
Setting: Scotland, London, various countryside locations

Harry Potter (2)

3. The Montmaray Journals by Michelle Cooper

While the first book in the series doesn’t take place in the UK, the entirety of the second and third books do so it is very worthy of inclusion on this list!
Setting: Primarily London, various countryside locations


4. All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness

Not only does the first book take place in Oxford in the present day, the second takes place in Elizabethan England!
Setting: Oxford, London, historical London, various countryside locations

Discovery of Witches

5. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Set in an idyllic Scottish town, The Bookshop on the Corner is one of my favorite books about books.
Setting: Rural Scotland

Bookshop on the Corner

6. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

I cannot wait to see this movie, will it please hurry up and come to the US already?
Setting: Guernsey, London

142-Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

7. A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic features not just one London, but three! The original London is set during the reign of mad King George, known to us colonials as the king we fought against for independence, the other two are parallel magical Londons with a third waiting in the wings.
Setting: Historical & Alternate Universe Londons

Darker Shade of Magic

Bookish Tuesday

Meeting Authors, Round Two

In the last few months I’ve been incredibly lucky to meet some spectacular authors and I can happily report that they were all spectacularly down to earth human beings. Below is an ode to four amazing women.

Christina Lynch

Years ago, Ben, my husband, found a book at the indie bookstore I now work at called City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte, handed it to me and said he thought it’d be perfect for me.  I loved it – it’s one of my all-time favorite books (and probably one of the moments that confirmed that he totally “gets” me). Flash forward quite a few years to last week when I’m running an author event with Christina Lynch at the bookstore and low and behold, she mentions that she’s one of the two authors who wrote the book under the pen name Magnus Flyte. I proceeded to freak out, called Ben and he, in true spectacular husband form, found the books on the shelf (no small feat) and braved First Friday traffic in our town to bring them over to the store and make my reading life complete. Christina could not have been kinder and more gracious and thanked me for recommending her books (even if I didn’t realize it at the time!)

Christina Lynch

Deborah Harkness

One of my pen pals, Sophie, and I read Deborah Harkness’ All Souls trilogy when each book came out together. So when our event coordinator at the store told me that Deb was coming to the store, well, let’s just say I freaked out a bit. She’s an absolutely delightful human being and I can’t wait to run into her again in August when I run the All Souls Con 5K!

Deborah Harkness

L. E. DeLano

If you don’t already follow L. E. on WordPress, you should (her name is the link above). She is not only a wonderful YA author and the top selling debut author at the Towne Book Center, but an amazingly strong and inspiring woman. Every time she agrees to stop by the store and help me out with a project, plan her book launch party, or volunteer her time with our young writers, it makes my heart sing. Traveler was one of my favorite reads of 2017 and L. E.’s voice is a fresh addition to the YA fantasy realm.

L. E. & Devon

Laini Taylor

Continuing the theme of remarkably sweet and kind authors who are generous with their time, Laini Taylor! My coworker Jennifer and I have both read the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and while we were wandering around BEA last week, we spotted her chilling in her publisher’s booth and, not wanting to take up too much of her time, but still wanting to say something, I simply thanked her for writing her books. She then proceeded to talk books with us for over 5 minutes (which in that setting is an eternity) and even agreed to a picture. An amazing lady she certainly is.


Bookish Tuesday

Book Expo 2018

Every spring my boss sends the children’s buyer, Jennifer, and I on an adventure to New York City for Book Expo. Here are some highlights from the 2018 iteration!

Reasons for Attending Book Expo

The reasons for wanting to attend Book Expo are wide ranged and varied, for booksellers, like myself and the two colleagues who joined me, they are as follows:

  • Meet authors! This one is pretty much a given, for my fangirling over Leigh Bardugo last year, see my meeting authors post here.
  • Get exclusive ARCs/Galleys – this one is less important for booksellers and more of a highlight for librarians and bloggers who primarily attend BookCon held immediately after Book Expo. As booksellers, we just email our reps afterwards and ask them to send us the ones we saw/heard about at Book Expo.
  • Sidelines – while Book Expo isn’t nearly as big as the Gift Show, it does give us bookstore buyers some neat opportunities to look into different sideline items to bring into the store.
  • Meeting other booksellers – the ABA (American Booksellers Association) is a pretty tight group and most of us get to know each other within just a few years of entering the world of Indie Bookstores.

Highlights from This Year


Within 10 minutes of walking into the Javits Center in NYC, we were standing in front of Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman trying not to completely freak out. Nick called my coworker Mary a Book Expo virgin when she mentioned it was her first time at Book Expo and then he exclaimed he was happy to take her Book Expo virginity – what a fun pair of authors! We thanked them for coming out to NYC to visit with us and he thanked us for selling his books and recommending them to readers!


Bumping into Laini Taylor, author of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy while she was chilling in the Hachette booth – she was spectacularly delightful and took time to talk with us about her books and bookseller life!


The sheer scope and size of Book Expo was remarkable less overwhelming this year for what I perceived to be one very marked difference. The vast majority of attendees were educators and booksellers – not book bloggers and members of the general public (booksellers who are also bloggers, like me, fall into the first category for these purposes) – meaning tomorrow and Sunday will surely by crazy for BookCon. I attended BookCon only once, back in 2015, and I will never do so again. Book Expo, on the other hand, was far more organized and enjoyable this year than it was last year.

Bookish Tuesday

Books I Couldn’t Finish

My reasons for failing to finish a book are wide and varied. Below are some of the few I actually feel guilty about abandoning.

1. Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I feel guilty about this one. I wanted to finish it, I wanted to know what happened. But I just couldn’t connect to either side of the protagonist’s life – and while I want to be able to recommend this book to many, when they ask if I enjoyed it, I don’t know what I’ll be able to say.


2. And After the Fire by Lauren Belfer

This is a book that I just wasn’t in the mindset for when I started reading it and alas, I have not returned to it as I promised I would. It is one that I hope to finish one day, just not anytime soon apparently.

And After the Fire

3. Beartown by Fredrik Backman

My coworkers love Backman, the bookstore customers love Backman, everyone loves Backman. The first of his books that sounded like it would appeal to me was Beartown, because, ice hockey. Sweden. Dreams of Henrik Lundkvist. Sign me up! It wasn’t entirely what I was expecting and falls into the same category as And After the Fire – I hope one day I’ll finish it.

Beartown (2)

4. Long Way Round by Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman

When I told my sister my husband was getting a motorcycle, she freaked out and started quoting safety statistics (well, not really, but her concern was warranted). Then, I made her sit down and watch one of her favorite actors, Ewan McGregor, ride motorcycles around the world. Wouldntchyaknow, now she loves the idea. She loved this book, I would rather watch the adventure than read the book.

Long Way Round

5. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I enjoyed Uprooted and I love the Rumpelstiltskin tale, but alas, I could not get into Spinning Silver. I had promised a rep a blurb about it and unfortunately had to disappoint. It comes out in July and I’m sure lots of book bloggers will be raving about it, I just won’t be among them.

Spinning Siver

6. The Rules of Me by Melanie Moyer

Last but not least, the one I feel most guilty about. Melanie is a friend of mine and this is her debut novel, fresh of the presses. She went the traditional route, is not self-published (which is important to me), and I couldn’t finish her book because I couldn’t stop crying. She tackles something very big, something that I have come just shy of experiencing, and she does it so well that I couldn’t get past the past memories. So this book, I will enthusiastically recommend, even if I cannot finish it myself.

Rules of Me

Bookish Tuesday

Places in Books I’d Love to Visit

One of the best parts about reading is losing yourself in the place and time of a book. Below are my & Laura’s top 5 places in books that we’d love to visit. Only one is a real place, but for another two, we had the chance to visit the film set!

1. Hogwarts (Harry Potter)

This should require little explanation – as a pair of now later 20-somethings, Harry Potter is a defining factor of our generation and we sat at home many days hoping an owl would show up with our acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Our 11th birthdays were hugely disappointing in that regard. Though our mom did take us to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when it first opened, so we’ve gotten about as close as we can to Hogwarts!

2. Neverland (Peter Pan)

I have, and always will, love Peter Pan. I’ve dreamed of Neverland for as long as I can remember, pretended to be Peter Pan, everything, the works. If anyone knows of a surefire was to find oneself some pixie dust, please do let me know!

3. Guernsey (Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society)

The obsession with Guernsey was Laura’s at first, and then when she found out I have a pen pal on the island, it intensified greatly. When the movie was announced and I decided to read the book, we both got very excited. And, as opposed to Neverland and Hogwarts, this one is actually real so we might eventually get there!

4. Hobbiton (Lord of the Rings The Hobbit)

So this one is a slight cheat because a, we haven’t actually read LotR or The Hobbit, and b, we’ve already been to the set of Hobbiton from the movies. But! It was 12 years ago and we want to c, read the books, and d, go back because the hobbit holes are more than just white washed plywood these days.

5. Velaris (A Court of Mist & Fury)

To anyone who has read Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series this one should be a big old “duh.” It is described in just normalcy and beauty and with a bright starry sky, who wouldn’t want to go there? Downside, it’s not a real place so this one will forever exist in my dreams.