The Bookish Travel Guide: New York City

New York City. The City that Never Sleeps. The Big Apple.

Last year (June 2018) I was finally able to cross New York off my travel bucketlist. I saw the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, The Book of Mormon (Broadway!!!), and so much more. As a book nerd, however, I had to “bookify” my trip a little.

Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series is one of my favorite children’s books. I first read the series during elementary/middle school, and it remains one of my favorites to this day. You can imagine my excitement when I got to visit the Empire State building. Although I wasn’t allowed to enter Olympus, the view was still amazing.

I never realized how big Central Park was until I got there. The city noise seemed to fade away, and I spent the day exploring as much as I could. One of my favorite statues was the Alice in Wonderland dedication that I stumbled across. It was even better when my sister and I realized that little kids were using the giant mushrooms as a “secret hideout.” They reminded us of our childhood games of secret worlds hidden in plain sight.

Words cannot describe my state of awe when I stepped into the New York Public Library. It was huge! I could have spent the whole day there. From the architecture to the book collections to the featured galleries, the library was beautiful. I instantly fell in love with the sky painted ceilings. It took a lot of effort on my family’s part to get me to leave for dinner.

My trip to New York may have been my first, but it was definitely not my last. I hope to go back soon and explore more of the city. Who knows? I might just bump into a Shadowhunter next.

What are your favorite spots in New York City?

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N.E.W.T.s Readathon 2019 Wrap-Up

Hey book lovers!

August has come to an end, along with the N.E.W.T.s exam season.

Hosted by the lovely G, a.k.a. Book Roast, this readathon begins in April with O.W.L.s exams and returns in August for N.E.W.T.s exams. This year was the second year for the readathon itself, but it was my first year participating. The community was very welcoming, and I had a lot of fun matching reads with the prompts. This is definitely a readathon I will be returning to next year. If you want to check out the rules for yourself, you can follow the link here.

I chose to follow the Librarian career requirements for this year. Although I did not complete the 7 N.E.W.T.s needed, I did complete 4 books within the month of August.

History of Magic
⚯͛ A – Read a fantasy –> Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

⚯͛ E – Read a book that includes a map –> Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Ancient Runes
⚯͛ A – Ehwaz (partnership): Read recommended by a friend –> Alex, Approximately by Jean Bennett

⚯͛ E – Book written in past tense –> Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier, translated by Anthea Bell

Life can be busy and chaotic, but the readathon helped motivate me to continue reading. Although I may not choose the same career pathway, I am hoping to complete more of the prompts next year.

Did you take your N.E.W.T.s exams? I would love to hear about what you thought of it.

Until next time, happy reading! ♡

Summer Reading Wrap-Up

Good-bye summer!

I am back in classes starting tomorrow, which means I will have less time to read than I did these past few months. Although I did not get to all the books on my summer TBR list, I did finish 18 books in total (not including my current read).

All the books I read this summer were 4 or 5-stars in my eyes. I tend to choose my reads based on my mood, so the books are from a mix of genres. YA is my favorite! I am also a sucker for a strong female lead, so you will probably notice that pattern too.

What were your favorite reads this summer? I would love to check them out.

Until next time, happy reading! ♡

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Can Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year.

But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s waiting for?

Read (finished): June 10, 2019

Rating: ⭐ 5/5

“How can I have been so stupid? How could I have ever for a moment believed I wasn’t in love with him?” – Anna, Anna and the French Kiss

When Anna is sent to a boarding school in Paris, she doesn’t know if she will ever move past the loneliness. Luckily, she meets a group of new friends…and St. Clair. Soon, Anna is exploring the city streets that she now calls home. As she navigates both old and new relationships, however, Anna learns that home can sometimes be a person.

Two days. It took me two days to finish this book (one day if my eyes could keep up). This book is just so cute and romantic!

Anna is an easy character to relate with (or at least for me). Thinking back to my high school years, I was always afraid of being adventurous on my own. Like Anna, I was scared of failure and embarrassment. Luckily, I had a group of supportive friends. Anna finds the same encouragement in her new group of friends, which leads to her own growth.

Another thing that stuck out to me was the lack of “fluff.” The obstacles that arise throughout the plot are all important and plausible. Some contemporary and romance books bring in too much drama, but Stephanie Perkins explores the deeper connections of navigating relationships. Without giving any spoilers, I liked how the book included the idea of communication being important in a relationship. Anna and St. Clair’s relationship is not the only important relationship in the story. Friendship and family ties are just as important, and both are affected by the presence of communication.

If you like traveling as much as I do, then read this book. The descriptions made me feel like I was actually walking down the cobblestone roads or watching movies at a vintage cinema. My cravings for Parisian pastries and desserts definitely doubled too.

Anna and the French Kiss was relatable, cute, and romantic. After falling in love with this book, I am excited to read Stephanie Perkins’s other novels.

Until next time, happy reading! ♡

YALLWEST 2019

Santa Monica is known for its beach, pier, and seaside amusement park. On Saturday, May 4, however, the coastal city was home to the popular young adult and middle grade book festival known as YALLWEST. As the sister festival to the east coast’s YALLFEST, the event was full of games, panels, book signings, giveaways, and many more exciting activities.

This was my first year going, so it was hard to stick to any form of plan. There were so many things to see and do! My sister and I tried to visit every booth, but that was quickly proven to be impossible. Each booth was unique and had their own goodies to offer. Some had bookish merch giveaways, while others had ARCs. There was even an ice-cream truck to celebrate the release of a new summer read.

A lunch break was a must during the all-day event. There were so many options when it came to food trucks, but the In-n-Out booth was the winner. After grabbing our burgers, my sister and I found a table in the shade to enjoy our meal. It was there that we got to chat with another local book lover. We gave each other book recommendations and talked about which booths to visit.

Amidst all the chaos (the beautiful, totally amazing chaos), my sister and I were able to make it to one panel: How To Actually Write A Comic, The DC Way. It was definitely the right choice. The all-female panelist group included Danielle Paige, Gwenda Bond, Melissa de la Cruz, Lauren Myracle, Marguerite Bennett, and Shannon Hale. Full of honest advice and lots of laughs, it made me feel comfort that one usually only feels from talking with old friends.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on author signings. Luckily, I was able to personally meet Danielle Paige. She was so sweet and kind. I even got her to sign my copy of Mera: Tidebreaker!

Although we had to cut our day short due to a school commitment, my sister and I decided to make YALLWEST an annual tradition.

I loved the atmosphere and the kindness of everyone attending. If you get the chance, definitely take the time to experience YALLWEST. It just made my love for the book community grow. ♡

Intro: The Bookish Travel Guide

Hi everyone!

Today’s post is an introduction to a new blog series I want to start: The Bookish Travel Guide.

The idea came to me when I was thinking about my personal travel goals. As a huge book nerd (does my blog make it obvious?), I love seeing unique libraries and bookstores from around the world. Each place has their own story to tell, and I love hearing about the history behind them.

Think of this as a book dragon’s informal travel to-do list. It will include a collection of destinations that are related to books. These can be libraries, bookstores, markets/festivals, or important settings from a favorite read.

Do you have a favorite library or bookstore? Is there a specific book festival you enjoy? I would love to hear your suggestions.

Until next time, happy reading! ♡