Books I Bought While on Vacation Part 1

Hello Readers!

You all know by now that I love to travel. But what you may not know is that I recently went on two trips. The first was back in December when I traveled solo (for my very first time) to London. And most recently, I went for a long weekend adventure with my bestie to San Antonio, Texas.

Now, one of the highlights of traveling for me is discovering new and interesting places to see and things to do. And the one thing that is always on my things to do and see list are check out the local bookstores.

I thought it would be fun to share with you what books I picked up on my first solo adventure in London.


London is one of my absolute favorite cities. I love the bloody history and the beautiful sights to see. Besides that, as a shopper, I love the shopping that this hip city has to offer.  And that includes the London bookstores.

On this trip I visited three bookstores, and found treasures in each.

The first bookstore is one I literally stumbled upon. While walking around Portobello Road in the Notting Hill area of London,  I turned down a side street to find a bit of space and quiet to take a phone call, and I spotted a strange sight: a group of tourists snapping pictures of a store front that I couldn’t quite see (that’s how many people were crowded in front of it.) I stepped a bit closer to discover that it was the Notting Hill Bookshop and aside the sign there was a blue tile stating the stores fame: it was featured in the movie Notting Hill.

I have a rule .. whenever you stumble upon a bookstore, especially an independent one, I have to pay it a visit. I walked in, and yes it was crowded. And not just because of the massive amounts of people in it, but because it was very small. Although small, it was charming.

I looked around and found myself in the children and teen section of the store.  The Notting Hill Bookshop had a great selection of some of the most popular books. I think found the children’s classics section since I’m always on the hunt for a new addition to my (always) growing Alice in Wonderland/Through The Looking Glass collection. While most I already had or had seen, I found the picture book adaptions. And that’s when I saw it. That’s why I saw the most unique edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

This edition, not adapted, but illustrated and created by Irena Trevisan and Nadia Fabris, tells Carroll’s famed story with beautifully intricate cut-outs.

I also bought a matching bookmark because … why not!

The next store I went to, I didn’t necessarily stumble upon. I sought this one out. I went to Foyles Bookstore – a massive store that seemed like it would have every book imaginable.

Going into this London adventure, I had researched books – books that I’d potentially want, books that weren’t necessarily published in the States. I mean, I didn’t want any old book I could buy. And I found a ton of books that I would want, but I knew I couldn’t buy all of them. There is a luggage weight limit after all.

One of the two books, which I was sure they’d have, it turned out it wasn’t available. As much as I was saddened about it, I was still hopeful that I could still find it at another bookstore.  The second one, however, they had stacks of.

In Foyles I purchased a total of four books,  two of which were new to me editions of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. both were books that I read about online, and both feel like true “Nicole” books. The first one I picked up was a signed copy of Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles. The second was Witch Born by Nicholas Bowling.

As I was checking out, the guy helping me flashed the copy of Bookshop Girl I was purchasing, and commented that “I had great taste in books!” I told him I was excited to check the book out, as I heard good things about it. He proceeded to tell me that the author of Bookshop Girl, Chloe Coles, is an employee at that very Foyles. For whatever reason, I found that totally cool, and made me only want to read this book more and more. I am so glad that I purchased this book.

On my last day in London, I ended up in the Piccadilly Circus area. It’s an area that, even though it’s very reminiscent of NYC’s Times Square, I absolutely love it.  I went back to the very first Waterstones that I had ever stepped foot in several years ago. This Waterstones has several floors, and it’s chock full of books. Immediately, I knew what book I wanted. The one I was hoping to find at Foyles but sadly didn’t: Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence. I can’t explain exactly why I wanted this book so much, besides the fact that the summary really appealed to me, but I had to have it. And as luck would have it, there was only one copy left! Score one for me!

There’s one last book I purchased on this adventure. However, I didn’t purchase it in a bookstore. My first full day in London I had a ticket to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. (In case you’re wondering … it was AWESOME! And if you want a post about it, let me know in the comments!) While walking around the store I (finally) came up on the various house editions. I knew I wanted a Hufflepuff edition, and before actually seeing what stock was available, I wanted my favorite book in the series. But they only had one book in the house editions: Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets. So I quickly bought it, and no regrets as it is probably my second favorite book in the series.

In total, I purchased a total seven books. And I know that’s a lot, but considering I have very little self control when it comes to books I’m pretty proud that I didn’t fill my suitcase with books!

Reading Tracker – January 2019 Edition (End of Month Wrap Up)

Hello Readers!

A few weeks ago, about halfway through January, I posted my January 2019 Reading Tracker, outlining the books I had planned on reading. This list didn’t include any titles I was reading or had to read for work.

Today, I am sharing with you the books I did, and didn’t read.

Originally, I set out to read two YA books: Royals by Rachel Hawkins and Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowly.

While I finished Royals by Rachel Hawkins, I unfortunately didn’t get to finish Words in Deep Blue. Though I did start it, and as of today am only twenty pages into it.

Not only did I set out to read two YA books, I also wanted to squeeze in some audiobooks, because as I’ve always known they help my (little in comparison to some)  commute pass by quickly. I set out to read People Like Us by Dana Mele on audio. Well I did start and finish that one, along with Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles and Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta.

Lastly, I wanted to read one graphic novel. I had several on deck, but wanted to read Foiled by Jane Yolen. I’m happy to report that I did read it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And am excited to read the second volume soon.

Unrelated to the books I read for fun, I also did some reading for work. The books, mainly picture books, I read in January for work programs and projects are:

  • Cece Loves Science by Kimberly Derting
  • Wow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood
  • Poe Won’t Go by Kelly DiPucchio
  • Every Buddy Counts by Stuart J Murphy
  • A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman
  • Teddy Bear Counting by Barbara McGrath
  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
  • Hungry Bunny by Claudia Rueda
  • If I Could Drive, Mama by Cari Best
  • New Socks by Bob Shea
  • Charlotte the Scientist is Squished by Camille Andros
  • Happy by Emma Dodd

In total I read a total of seventeen books. Not bad if I do say so myself!

Around the Web (# 29)

Everyone is talking about Marie Kondo, and  asking if this or that sparks joy. Well, here’s an article on why you should hold on to some things – specifically books – even if it doesn’t spark joy!

I’m a sucker for books made into movies.


I’m trying to read more adult fiction. Maybe I’ll read one of these.

Because I love a fun quiz. (If you want to know, my classic 80s movie is The Shining! And I’m 100% okay with that as it’s one of my all time favorite movies!)

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Recent Additions To My TBR List

(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The above image was taken and altered by me for the purpose of this post.)

Hello Readers!

Honestly, I have a love-hate relationship with my to be read (TBR) list.  But seriously, who doesn’t?

On the one hand I love it. I love it because, not only can I actually list all the books I am looking forward to reading, but more importantly it helps me actually remember all those titles and all those authors.

But then, there’s the other side. The hate side of that love-hate relationship.  My list is often long and overwhelming. And it feels difficult to navigate and manage.  But seriously, whose tbr list all of these things?

No matter how much I love or hate it, I continue to add to it. And it dutifully and faithfully keeps track of those books I plan to read (at some point in my life). Today, I am sharing ten more books that I am adding to my already long list. These are ten upcoming books that I’m happy to add to this crazy list.

  • These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
  • Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell
  • We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Key Mejia
  • Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

  • Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera
  • A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
  • Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan
  • The Haunted by Danielle Vega
  • Her Royal Highness (Royals #2) by Rachel Hawkins

So, dear readers, are your tbr lists out of control? What are your most recent additions? Please share! (I’m looking for even more books to add to mine obviously!)

Middle Grade Monday: Isadora Moon Goes to School

Isadora Moon Goes to School by Harriet Muncaster

Meet Isadora Moon. She’s half-fairy and half-vampire. And her life is perfect! Her best friend is a pink stuffed rabbit that her fairy mother brought to life. She gets to breakfast – her most favorite meal of the day – twice. She can fly. And she loves watching the human kids walking to and from school everyday.


That is, under her fairy mom and vampire dad tell her that it’s time for her to go to school, just like those kids she watches everyday. But she won’t be going to any old school. Instead, they’re giving Isadora a choice: daytime fairy school or nighttime vampire school.

Unsure of both, Isadora tries both schools. And it turns out that she doesn’t like either. School just isn’t for her, or at least fairy school or vampire school isn’t for her.

Isadora has to go to school, but her parents are insisting on it. But which school. She doesn’t fit in either school. Will she ever find a school, a school perfect for a half-fairy, half-vampire?

Isadora Moon Goes to School, written by author Harriet Muncaster, is book one in a series about a lovable half-fairy, half-vampire.

Author Harriet Muncaster’s writing is simple, but strong. What makes it so is the imagination that has been woven into the story. More than that though, Muncaster’s writing is inviting. Readers will easily feel welcomed into Isadora’s half-fairy, half-vampire world.

Still, the descriptions and the illustrated details are fun. Both help readers not only see the story unfold, before their eyes and in their mind’s eye.

Isadora Moon is a true original. She is completely unique, and as a reader I personally loved how that unique-ness is celebrated throughout the entire book.  She is a true leader, and a relatable one at that. Young readers will see their own worries and struggles reflected in Isadora’s. But as great as Isadora is as a character, she isn’t the only stand out character in this book.

There are her parents: her fairy mother and her vampire father. While they fit their stereotypes, they also feel like they break their molds. Best of all is that they’re supportive and loving of Isadora. They are her biggest cheerleaders.

Overall, I thoroughly loved Isadora Moon Goes to School and I honestly feel that readers of all ages will too. Isadora is fiercely strong. Beyond that, I feel this book imparts an important message, and a message not just for the intended audience: be true to yourself, and that it’s okay to be different, and celebrate those differences.

Isadora Moon Goes to School is a super cute, super charming story that will leave readers wanting more.  By the time this book comes to close, they’ll be eager to get their hands on book two.

(And as an aside I absolutely love the black, white, and pink aesthetic!)

*Cover image from Goodreads

Top Five YA Books of 2019 I Can’t Wait to Read

Hello Readers!

Like I posted on Monday about the top 5 middle grade books I’m excited about, I also wanted to post the top 5 teen books that I am excited about.

The Wicked King by Holly Black

“You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring. The first lesson is to make yourself strong. After the jaw dropping revalation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished. When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.” – from Goodreads.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

“Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it – she has to make it. On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and now who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.” – from Goodreads.

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnight Matinee by Jeff Zentner

“Every Friday night, best friends Delia and Josie become Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, hosts of the campy creature feature show Midnight Matinee on the local cable station TV Six.  But with the end of senior year quickly approaching, the girls face tough decisions about their futures. Josie has been dreading graduation, as she tires to decide whether to leave for a big university and chase her dream career in mainstream TV. And Lawson, one of the shows guest performers, a talented MMA fighter with weaknesses for pancakes, fantasy novels, and Josie, is making her tough decision even harder. Scary movies are the last connection Delia has to her dad, who abandoned the family years ago. If Midnight Matinee becomes a hit, maybe he’ll see it and want to be a part of her life again. And maybe Josie will stay with the show instead of leaving her behind, too. As the tug-of-war between growing up and growing apart tests the bonds of their friendship, Josie and Delia start to realize that an uncertain future can be both monstrous … and momentous.” – from Goodreads.

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin

“What do a future ambassador, an overly ambitious Francophile, a hospital-volunteering Girl Scout, the new girl from Cleveland, the junior cheer captain, and the vice president of the debate club have in common? It. sounds like the ridiculously long lead-up to an astoundingly absurd punchline, right? Except it’s not. Well, unless my life is the joke, which is kind of starting to look like a possibility given how beyond soap opera it’s been since I moved to Lancaster. But anyway, here’s your answer: we’ve all had the questionable priviledge of going out with Lancaster High School’s de facto king. Otherwise known as my best friend. Otherwise known as the reason I’ve already helped steal a car, a jet ski, and one hundred spray-painted water bottles when it’s not even Christmas break yet. Otherwise known as Henry. Jersey number 8. Meet Cleves. Girlfriend number four and the narrator of The Dead Queens Club, a young adult retelling of Henry VIII and his six wives. Cleves is the only girlfriend to come out of her relationship with Henry uncathed – but most breakups are messy, right? And sometimes tragic accidents happen … twice … ” – from Goodreads.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

“Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Nigh Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans. But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns. when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica. While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in tow. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.” – from Goodreads.


(All cover images and summaries from Goodreads)

Reading Tracker – January 2019 Edition

Hello Readers!

I haven’t been reading as much as I would like. And there are many reasons for that (more on that in next Friday’s post so stay tuned!). Since I haven’t been reading, getting back into the swing of things has proven to be a challenge.

But the important part is this: I’ve picked up a book (or rather books) and have been actively reading. So, YAY!

Because I am easing myself into the swing of reading actively and steadily, I am setting small (reading) goals for myself. And today, I am sharing those goals with you!

During the month of January, I want to read a total of four (4) books.

  • Two (2) YA Books because, by nature, those are the kinds of books I gravitate towards.
  • One (1) Graphic Novel because I really enjoy them as a whole, and because of that I want to read more obviously.
  • One (1) Audiobook because, not only do I enjoy them, but I feel they’re a great and (relatively) easy way to squeeze reading into a busy schedule.

Specifically though, these are the books I am “planning” on reading. And I say “planning” because we all know things and plans change quickly around here.

  • The two (2) YA books I plan on reading are: Royals by Rachel Hawkins and Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley.
  • The one (1) Graphic Novel that I plan on reading is: Foiled by Jane Yolen
  • The one (1) Audiobook I plan on listening to is: People Like Us by Dana Mele

This is a very manageable number of books to read in one month. So manageable that I think I could surpass this goal because these goals do not include the books I read for work.

At the end of the month I will update, again, on if I met my monthly goals, a total number of books I read, and a list of the books I read (including any work related books).