The Marauders #2 : Spellbound in Salem


Welcome to The Marauders a monthly feature hosted by three bookish friends: Scales aka Elizabeth from BookYABBER, Pooka aka Marci at The Plot Bunny and Embers aka Nicole from Nicole’s Novel Reads. We seek to share with you, our unique outings, bookish exploits,  and favorite haunts. Together we aspire to always live by our motto:  “Mischief Managed”.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth


This month’s trip took us to the seaside town of Salem, Massachusetts. Salem is infamously known for the 1692 witch trials where several of its locals were accused and executed for allegedly practicing witchcraft (you can read more about it here ). The witch hysteria was a really dark and tragic time in Salem’s history, but the town has done a complete 180 and almost everywhere you look now you will find it has embraced its “witchy” history. Modern Salem now honors the memory of the innocent men and women that suffered horrible tortures and death at the hands of the fanatical Puritans. We decided to visit Salem because Elizabeth had never really experienced the city since she moved to Massachusetts. Nicole and I are basically locals so we knew that there would be lots of interesting things to look at and explore. We have also been meaning to visit Wicked Books bookstore ever since we attended the Harlequin Halloween Scream book event this past October that they hosted at The Hawthorne Hotel.

Our visit started with a hearty breakfast at Red’s Sandwich shop. From the outside, you wouldn’t think this place was really very large, but it actually has a whole other dining room in the back area towards the bathrooms. The food was filling, and the prices were very reasonable. All the locals eat here, so you know it must be good.

Top Left, Top Right and Bottom Right Photo Credit: Nicole

After eating our fill we decided to just walk around the “touristy” part of Salem, and look around some shops. Since Salem is known for their “witches” you will find lots of places that will feel similar to going shopping for your first day at Hogwarts. One of the most “authentic” places you could go to for your potions supplies and dragon’s blood ink is The Coven’s Cottage. Here you will find a vast array of dried herbs, flowers, parchment, candles and various other items. I bet Professor Snape would come here to stock up his potions supply closet.

Bottom Left Photo Credit : Nicole Right Side Photo Credit: Nicole We would have taken pictures of the inside, but photography was not allowed.

Along this same shopping area, you will find Salem’s independent bookstore Wicked Good Books. This place used to be a completely different bookstore, with books piled high and stacked on top of each other. It was almost impossible to move around in it or to find anything, but it did have lots of “character”. Wicked Good Books still has character but now with better lighting and a very neat and organized setup. Their selection isn’t very large but they do have both new and used titles. The staff is friendly, helpful and they are known to  host book signings and other events often.


After leaving Wicked Good Books (sadly no books bought this time)  walked further down and past Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum. We were about to come upon some more shops. The first was a card, gifts and more “specialized” bookstore called The Marble Faun Books and Gifts store. This place had a very nice and varied selection of Jane Austen, Edgar Allen Poe, Alice in Wonderland items as well as teas, journals, quills, fountain pens and Victorian and Steampunk items (even a few corsets). They had a large selection of cards too. The top one in the picture below  for example I could have sworn said DEMENTOR and not DELINEATOR.


marble faun
Photo Credit: Marble Faun website


After the Marble Faun, we visited two of the more Harry Potter inspired stores in Salem. The first of these shops was Remember Salem. Stock full of Harry Potter merchandise this place is a fan’s dream. They even had Butter Beer! After making a few purchases we headed next door to  Wynott’s Wands. Here we felt like we had just walked into Ollivander’s Wands shop. Everywhere we looked had something interesting and unique to see. The wands were really beautifully made and the shop also sold journals and candles too (I purchased a really adorable kitty paperweight- it’s on the bottom left of the picture below). The shop owner was quite an eccentric character and definitely knew her Harry Potter cannon.

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Photo Credit bottom right (Owl): Nicole

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We started feeling peckish and thirsty after all our shopping  so we started to wander a little further down the road towards Jolie Tea Shop but first, we stopped to explore the outdoor exhibit called Stickwork. It looks like each house was built by human-bird hybrids. Everything was completely made with sticks the artist found. These were pretty large structures and we took several pictures and walked around and through them. I bet they look fairly creepy at night with one lone little light shining through each window.

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Chilly and definitely hungry by this point we proceeded to walk over to Jolie Tea Shop. This cute little shop is located just across from the Hawthorne Hotel and is absolutely adorable and reminded me of Madam Paddifoot’s tea shop in Harry Potter. They now offer something called a Petit Tea (a scone, a madeleine and a French Macaroon of your choice) along with a pot of tea. They also sell a few other pastries, and they do offer High Tea if you book ahead. Their tea selection is quite large, and I decided on a Chocolate Raspberry infusion that was absolutely delicious. We each ordered a version of the Petit Tea (Elizabeth got an orange Macaroon, I got a chocolate one, and Nicole chose an earl grey flavor). Everything was absolutely lovely and even the restroom was cool with bunny speckled wallpaper.We definitely plan to return again to in the near future.


Feeling a bit adventurous after our yummy treats we decided to head over to a slightly more “dark arts” looking shop called Five Hands. This shop would definitely be found along Knockturn Alley (sorry I can’t help it with the Harry Potter references), right along the lines of Borgin and Burkes. We didn’t stay very long, but we did get an eyeful of everything from a tiny baby casket, a guillotine, vintage doll heads, antique embalming kit, surgical tools and jars with strange substances and items inside them . Both Elizabeth and I wished that not everything had been under glass/lock and key, but that was probably from keeping curious people like us from getting into trouble with things we should not be messing with.

Top Left and Bottom Left Photo Credit: Nicole

Our next stop was The Burying Point and The Salem Witch Trail Memorial (of course these locations are supposedly haunted). The memorial consists of 20 granite benches cantilevered from a low stone wall surrounding an area next to the Old Burying Point. The benches are inscribed with the names of the 14 women and 6 men who were accused of being witches and the means and date of their execution. The Burying Point is the final resting place for a Mayflower Pilgrim, Justice John Hawthorne (an ancestor of Nathaniel Hawthorne) who was one of the witchcraft court judges and more than 50 slaves are also buried in the southwest corner of Salen’s oldest cemetery in unmarked graves (no wonder the place is haunted).


We were starting to get a little tired and a bit cold so we decided to start heading back to where we had parked our car, but first we warmed up by visiting two comic book shops. The largest of these was Harrison’s Comics.  This place is quite large and has a huge collection of comics, DVDs, posters, toys and all things Pop Culture. I was really tempted to purchase what looked like a vintage Snow White movie poster. There was plenty of other pretties to peak my interest too, especially they StarWars and Doctor Who sections. After spending a little time looking over all the shiny comics we decided it was time to head home. I had a really fun and unintentionally Harry Potter inspired day visiting the town of Salem and hanging out with my fellow Marauders. There is still lots of places there to explore that we didn’t get to this time around, but we’ll just have to make a return again soon.

I hope you enjoyed my recap of The Marauders’ trip to Salem, MA. Make sure to check out Elizabeth and Nicole’s posts too.  

Have you ever been to Salem? Did any of the shops or places we visited spark your interest?  Let us know what you thought of our trip in the  comments below. Let’s Chat!



Monthly Book Rewind: Double Feature- March & April 2016

Monthly Rewind

I did not do a monthly book rewind for March and I feel that I need to address some of the awesomeness that happened during March, as well as fill you in on how my April went. Since I just launched The Plot Bunny at the end of February things were still a bit unsettled in March. I was still getting settled and figuring out my post schedules. It’s still a work in progress, but things are starting to find their proper places as April comes to a close.


Books Read


March Books: Pax by Sara Pennypacker , The Siren by Kiera Cass, Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke, Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.



April Books: Don’t Get Caught by Kurt Dinan, The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires, The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas, The Storybook Knight by Helen Docherty, Science Comics: Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean by Maris Wicks, and Toshi’s Little Treasures by Nadine Roberts and Aki


Book Mail

From Publishers (physical copies/ARCS): The Siren Hippopotamister, Stalking Jack the Ripper, Science Comics: Coral Reefs, The Passion of Dolsa (finished copy), Love Charms & Other Catastrophes (E-Book).



Books for Trade or Purchased Books: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The Night Circus ARC (::swoon:: I can’t even begin to explain how happy I was to find this ARC), Love Fortunes and Other Disasters ARC (thank you Sara for trading with me), The Raven King.



Bookish Features/Outings

The Marauders: In March, Elizabeth from @BookYabber, Nicole from @NicoleMoy and myself decided to start a monthly blog feature together called The Marauders (you can follow our adventures on social media via #TheMarauders3). Our inaugural trip was included book shopping at Park Books (the largest children’s toy and bookstore in New England) and  afternoon tea at the elegant and very pink Fancy That! tea shop in Walpole, MA.

the marauders

In April, we went on a very “magical” trip to Salem, MA. Trip highlights included visiting Wicked Good bookstore, a “Petite Tea” at Jolie Tea Company, a trip to Remember Salem (A shop that sells lots of Harry Potter goodies), Wynott’s Wand shop and a walk through the outdoor installation of Stickwork by Patrick Dougherty.

Baking & Crafting

I didn’t bake much these last two month. I did purchase adorable bunny cookie cutters and Peter Rabbit themed dishes, spatula and even a cake pan on Pottery Barn Kids and William Sonoma for future baking projects. My crafting hasn’t really happened much these last two months, but I am starting on a new cross stitch project next week and I really hope it turns out nice.



Future Plans

In May I am hoping to launch a feature completely dedicated to children’s picture books and middle grade books (keep your eyes open for the announcement on Twitter and Instagram).

Book Events I am planning on attending:

Reading Goals

I hope to amp up my reading in May, especially of YA fantasy, horror, and historical novels. Right now I am in the middle of a few different good ones, but I would love some recommendations.


Tell me about your monthly rewind. What awesome books have you read these past few months? What adventures have you been on? I would love to hear about them in the comments below. 


Children’s Picture Book Review: Toshi’s Little Treasures

Children’s Picture Book Review: Toshi’s Little TreasuresToshi's Little Treasures by Nadine Robert, Aki
Published by Kids Can Press on April 5th 2016
Genres: Children's Picture Book
Pages: 32
Buy on Amazon

In this appealing search-and-find informational picture book, readers join a little boy named Toshi as he and his grandmother explore six of their favorite places -- the riverbank, the town, the forest, the country, the park and the beach. At each location, Toshi finds treasures to add to his collection, from a dragonfly wing to a glittery rock to a guitar pick. Best of all, his grandmother always knows what everything is! Each scene is featured in a full-spread illustration, with lots of potential treasures labeled. Following that is an activity in which readers help Toshi identify his found treasures from each place by matching them to related items (for example, pink peony petals matching the peony plant, and a coin matching the coin purse). Answers at the back of the book reveal interesting facts about them all, adding context. The animals that Toshi and his grandmother encounter are also shown at the back of the book. Using an innovative technique that mixes fiction and nonfiction, this book is the perfect resource for life science lessons on habitats and the environment. It encourages observation skills, curiosity and critical thinking -- building blocks for studying science. This book would be a terrific inspiration for a trip around the neighborhood in which children can find, identify and draw treasures of their own. It could also be used as a starting point for storytelling, in which children imagine the story of a treasure -- Toshi's or their own -- before it was found.

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This book is about the special treasures Toshi finds when he goes for walks with his grandmother. It reminded me of my own walks with my grandmother and how I would ask her about the different things that I saw. It also reminded me of my nephews and how inquisitive they are, always picking up different things in the yard when we play with them outside. Toshi’s Little Treasure has lovely bright colors and so much to seek and find. You travel along with Toshi and his grandmother to the riverbank, the town, the country, the forest, the park and the beach.


At each location, Toshi goes exploring with his grandmother and finds many different little treasures to add to his growing collection from a glittery rock, dog whistle, a partridge feather and so much more. This book is a great starting point to encouraging exploration of nature and different habitats as well as promoting being in nature. This is definitely a great book to inspire your own family to go on your own treasure hunting adventure. I loved that after each place you have a list of all the treasures that Toshi found and you have a matching “game” to see if you can match the different items you found to where they come from.

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I would have loved for the illustrations to have been a bit more detailed, but that is really just me being picky. At the back of the book, there is an answer key with all the matching answers, as well as some interesting and educational little tidbits of information about each item.I think this book would be a great addition to any family library. Be it used for exploring, or just as a “seek and find” reading activity it is sure to entertain and captivate young readers.


Thank you to Netgalley and Kids Can Press for the opportunity to read and enjoy this delightful book.



Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: The Rose & The Dagger by Renée Ahdieh

I am so excited that THE ROSE & THE DAGGER by Renée Ahdieh releases this week and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Renée Ahdieh, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a paperback of THE WRATH & THE DAWN and a hardcover of THE ROSE & THE DAGGER and an awesome candle from The Melting Library’s Etsy Store, US Only!  So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Title: THE

Author: Renée
Release Date: April
26, 2016
Publisher: G.P.
Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 432
Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks 
The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn,
lauded by Publishers Weekly as “a potent page-turner of intrigue
and romance.”

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and
sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her
husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan. 
While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.
Praisefor The Rose and the Dagger:

“Above all there is the shattering, triumphant
catharsis of love… In a story about stories, love is ‘the power to speak
without words.’ Thrillingly full of feeling.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Fiery romance, a spirited heroine, shifting loyalties… With more than a few
heartrending twists and turns.”—Booklist 



About Renée:
Renée lives in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, will be published on May 12th, 2015. In her spare time, she likes to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters.

She’s also a member of the Society of
Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
, as well as an active member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.
Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a paperback of THE WRATH & THE DAWN, a hardcover of THE ROSE& THE DAGGER, and a His Calipha candle from


Ends on May 3rd at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top Ten Tuesday: BookWorm Bookish Delights

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog feature created by the girls at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday post is dedicated to Bookworm Delights. This was such a hard list to write because I have so many delightful bookish things I could have picked from that make me happy and all fuzzy inside. I trimmed my list down and made my final selection with much thought to come up with my ultimate Top 10 Bookworm Delights…


1- The Smell of Books: Yes, I am a total #booksniffer. There is nothing like stepping into a bookstore or the library and taking a big whiff to absorb all those delicious scents of wonder and adventure seeping out from the books. Be them old or new there is something completely comforting about the way a book smells (this also applies to the feel of a book in my hands and the way the pages feels against my fingers). I have literally grabbed books off shelves and sniffed them, hugged them and if I knew for sure I was buying them even kissed them.

rory booksniff


2- Meeting Favorite Authors: This is probably one of my favorite bookish things to do. I really enjoy going to author events and meeting with the authors I enjoy. I have been blessed to have been able to meet quite a few of my favorite authors in the last 8 years. Some were at events, some were at BEA and one lucky outing with my friend Matt was to a garden party at Neil Gaiman’s home (when he lived in Cambridge with his wife Amanda Palmer). <—-That was one of my happiest fangirl moments…::swoon::



3- Rare Books/1st Editions/Signed Books and Used Books: Going on book hunting expeditions for books is one of my favorite activities to do on a weekend. I have become quite passionate about seeking out signed or 1st editions (or both) or just really rare editions of my favorite books. I also love just finding random old books that sound interesting to me. I love the thrill of the hunt, chasing down old bookstores and scouring the internet for potential auctions and sellers. What’s even better is finding a rare book when you were least expecting it (and being able to afford it)…that truly makes a day go from good to MAGICAL.

it's magical


4- Meeting other bookish people who read and like the same books and authors as I do: This makes me so giddy with joy and excitement. I love it when I find other fans that I can totally geek out with about a book, or author. This happens often when meeting other fellow bloggers, or Potterheads…but it’s really fantastic when I meet someone that loves the same obscure or less “popular” book I love or that I meet outside of a bookish setting.

just met love


5- Underrated Books: I LOVE when I discover a book that I have never heard much of anything about and it turns out to be one of the best things I have ever read. I love the feeling that in that moment it feels like it was written just for me and it’s all mine. Of course eventually, I will go and tell all my friends about how marvelous it is and that they should all read it ASAP so I have others to swoon over it with.

bello love books


6- Dust jacket, Pages & Hardcover Art: I love a beautifully designed book, from the dust jacket to the cover, to the gilded, deckled or colored edged pages. I love books that have one design on the dust jacket and then a totally different design on the hardcover (when you remove the jacket). I love books that are bound nicely and have gilding on them too. I just love pretty books….

Rapunzle books


7- Authors who read their own books: I love it when an author reads his/hers own book. I just really enjoy hearing how the characters “sound” like to the author. How their personalities come forward depending on how the author “reads them”. Neil Gaiman (yes…I’m a bit obsessed) does this wonderfully, he has the best voice and accent and I just LOVE the way he reads (I own all my favorite books by him in audio format too).

alice listening


8- Getting that “new favorite book” feeling: Sometimes you open a book and read the first sentence or paragraph and you already “just know” it is going to be something special. It is instant love and there is really no better way to explain it besides it’s MAGICAL.

Best book ever


9- Reading in Bed, or on a really comfy chair when it’s rainy out: Is there anything really better than spending a day just relaxing, enjoying a good book, being cuddly and warm and drinking something yummy? I guess maybe reading while sitting on your porch on a sunny day or while laying in your hammock while drinking a mojito or some other cold beverage comes close too.

reading in bed


10- Bookish inspired items: I love finding items that are inspired by books the books (especially my favorite books). Be them notebooks, mugs, pencil cases, candles, totes art prints etc…I love them all. Etsy is a great place to search for fabulous handmade items, and Society 6 offers so many beautiful illustrations that can be turned into prints, totes, phone cases etc. Here are some of my favorite shops: krukrustudio , KleverCase, MyMiniMunchies, OxfordBright, TheMeltingLibrary, NorthAveCandles, Fable&Black (and so many more…).


I would love to know what some of your favorite bookish delights are.

Do we share similar bookworm bookish joys?

Leave me your comments and links below and let’s chat.