The Marauders: Harry Potter and The Cursed Child Book Release/Midnight Party

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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”.

Welcome to a very special Marauders, done in celebration of the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Nicole, Elizabeth and I have been looking forward to the release of this script for many months now. Elizabeth actually never had the opportunity to participate in the infamous “midnight party” book releases and Nicole and I were eager to share in this right of passage that should be experienced at least once by all Potterheads. 

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We eagerly waited for details on all the Harry Potter midnight parties bookstores were planning all over our area and once we discussing the pros and cons of each, we opted to attend at one of our favorite independent bookstores The Harvard Bookstore in Harvard Sq. Cambridge, MA. It helped that they were not only going to be doing various activities that night but also that they offered a 20% discount for customers who pre-ordered Harry Potter and the Cursed Child online. We placed our orders asap and then we waited…and waited and waited…and finally July 30th, 2016 arrived!

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We opted to have dinner as close to the bookstore as possible because we wanted to make sure we could start forming a line as soon as they would let us. We decided to stop by John Harvard’s pub for some cool libations and yummy dinner. As we were getting ready to meet up, our friend Rachel told us she was going to be hanging around with her friend Anna and we all ended up meeting at the restaurant to have dinner together, which was nice because it is always a pleasure to catch up with Rachel, and we got to make a new friend too.

I have to say the cocktail Nicole and I both had “Lady Grey” was really delicious. It was made with Hendrick’s gin, earl grey syrup, and lemon juice. I asked them to add a little bit of St. Germain Elderflower liqueur and it was divine! I ordered something called Calabash, which was cornmeal battered shrimp and scallops with fries. It was pretty good, but they definitely skimped on the actual seafood and made more the dinner fries (so yeah…not trying that again). Nicole and Anna got the same dish which was Butternut squash ravioli and Nicole said it was delicious. Rachel got the halibut and Elizabeth got what looked like really creamy mac&cheese (it was a really big portion too). It was nice to hang out, but Rachel and Anna had to head over to another bookstore so we finished up said our goodbyes and parted ways.

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Walking through Harvard Sq. felt a bit different from 7 years ago at the release of Deathly Hollows. 7 years ago I was dressed in a Bellatrix cosplay and there was a lot more people dressed up. Wizards and witches were all around and they definitely outnumbered all the muggles. There were various activities happening in Harvard Sq. then too, which included a concert (Harry and the Potters and Draco & the Malfoys). The streets in the center eventually had to be closed down due to all the people. This time around there it was definitely quieter. There were some people dressed up, definitely lots of kids with their parents and they were all mostly in costume or at least house colors. We didn’t dress up, but I wore my Slytherin shirt, and Elizabeth had her Slytherin scarf and bow. Nicole wore her HP alliance t-shirt which was blue (she’s a Ravenclaw) so we were representing, just in a more toned down manner.

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After we left the restaurant we went straight over to The Harvard bookstore, and amazingly at 8:30pm there wasn’t even a line formed yet so we got to be first! It was EARLY! Check-in was not going to start until 10pm, but we did not want to lose our place. So we decided we were going to wait it out. Soon more and more people started to line up behind us and soon the line was already a few blocks down the street. We decided that we needed Butterbeer to make this waiting around more tolerable, so Elizabeth and Nicole went off to Starbucks for Butterbeer frappuccinos and I held our prized spot.

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Holy Moly! Those Butterbeer frappuccinos were so yummy, a bit sweet but still very good. Nicole had them put Bellatrix on my cup…::squueeee::

Besides the Harvard Bookstore, a few other places were doing special events. There was a showing of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, a magic show, and many of the bars and restaurants in the area were doing themed drinks and menus. I loved that the In and Out News stand in Harvard Square actually had Hogwarts Square tapped over where it usually says Harvard Square. The air was filled with anticipation, and thankfully the weather wasn’t blazing hot, or muggy. When 10pm came around, the staffers at the bookstore finally started to set up the check-in table and we got our “golden ticket” with the position number of where we would be getting back in line at around 11:30pm. We got 3, 4 and 5 because they reserved 2 for a staffer/news person and 1 was given to a lucky little boy that won the contest they were hosting. Also, the first 50 people in line got to stay in the bookstore and party, which everyone else had to wait outside in line.

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Opps…forgot to get a picture of Gryffindor!

Once we got our tickets we took a stroll inside the store and were greeted with aisles and aisle of books, and lovely the Harry Potter musical score playing. Each of the houses were divided between two floors. The first floor housed Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, and the basement housed Slytherin (how appropriate) and Hufflepuff. Each house had drinks and treats for when you arrived to hang out and were decorated with the banners and house colors. The store had a Harry Potter book trivia game sheet for us to fill out and enter to win Harry Potter themed prizes and a “Count the Snitches” scavenger hunt (they were hidden all over the store) too.

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We did all our activities and decided to make a bathroom run at Starbucks (this bookstore does not have bathrooms) before the 11:30pm line up started. We arrived back at the bookstore around 11:15pm and they were about to start some type of improv theater thing (which was actually pretty awful…sorry…but it was). It also was running late and there were far too many people in the store still. Thankfully whoever the improv group was finished and they asked everyone that was not number 1-50 to leave the store. FINALLY,  I can breathe and move around again. One of the staffers announced that it was time to start the lineup and everyone was super giddy as we watched them pull the books from the tapped off special area. (There was even a sign with a strong warning). It was really exciting and finally they started a countdown.

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By 12:04am we had Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in our hands and we were so very happy. It was sort of a whirlwind, but I must say that the Harvard Bookstore did a great job organizing and keeping the line moving. Overall we had a fabulous time together and it was really magical to share this experience with Nicole and Elizabeth. Hopefully the next major Harry Potter related event we attend together will be a screening of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and one day we’ll also actually see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on the stage. That would be truly magic.

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We hoped you enjoyed our recap and outing for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Did you attend any of the midnight parties for the release? Have you finished reading it yet? Please remember to #KeepTheSecrets and NO SPOILERS if you decide to leave a comment below. Let’s chat!

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The Marauders: BFestBuzz Teen Festival at Barnes and Noble

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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”.

This month due to busy schedules and upcoming summer madness we decided to keep things a bit simple. Kerri Maniscalco announced on Twitter that ARCs of her debut gothic YA thriller Stalking Jack the Ripper was going to be at 30 select Barnes and Noble stores during their B-Fest Teen Book Festival on Saturday, June 11th, 2016. Since both Nicole and Elizabeth borrowed the copy of my ARC and LOVED it, we decided to attend the event and do a mini recap of it through tweets and a little bit on this post too.

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The Precious! So pretty! (Photo credit Nicole)

I met up with Elizabeth at her home and we headed over together to the Burlington Barnes and Noble, which was one of the lucky 30 stores that would have ARC copies of Stalking Jack The Ripper. We arrived super early because we had no idea what type of turn out this event was going to have. Once arrived we made sure to head straight to the information desk to find out where things were going to be setup. After obtaining the crucial information, Elizabeth and I wandered through the store and got coffee while we waited for Nicole to arrive. We perused the YA section of the store going over our latest reads and favorite books read so far this year, and eagerly watched out for signs of Barnes and Noble staff “setting-up” around us. Nicole arrived around 10:30am and as we caught up with her, we started to see the staff putting together the table where all types of samplers, ARCs and other swag would be. Once we saw them pulling out copies of Stalking Jack The Ripper from a large box we all got really excited. Obviously, Nicole and Elizabeth wanted their own copies and being part of the official street team we felt we had to be there for support and to send pictures to Kerri on Twitter.

IMG_7998Along with Kerri’s Stalking Jack the Ripper, there was also arcs of Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland and The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti. There were also chapter samplers for The Call, Tales of the Peculiar, Carve the Mark, The Diabolic, Something in Between, It’s Not Me, It’s You, The Fever Code, The Amateurs and some swag postcards, pins, hot chocolate mix, and coloring book from Fierce Reads.

After making our choices, we decided it was time to grab some lunch and try to come back for the activities that were happening later in the afternoon (scavenger hunt, spelling bee, etc). We headed off to The Cheesecake factory because we needed to somehow incorporate cake into this outing. We had a nice lunch ( and even better dessert) and a fun time just catching up and chatting about books, and about Stalking Jack The Ripper since we had all finished reading it.

When we got up to leave we looked outside and apparently a rainstorm decided to invade what had been a pretty sunny day. We decided to wait for it to pass and ventured into the mall to see what fun things we could occupy ourselves with until the storm passed. We came upon the Disney store which of course is such a happy place. It was like being 10 again and wanting to be a princess, or in our case just wanting to be everything from a princess to a storm trooper. We played with all our favorite StarWars/Zootopia characters, hugged our favorite stuffed animal characters, took the find the hidden characters amongst the tree displays throughout the store, and of course, we had to visit all the pretty princess dolls. We managed to not buy anything but we sure did have a blast.

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OMG the cuteness of these stuffies! (Photo Credit; Elizabeth)
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One is never too old to play make-believe (Photo Credit: Elizabeth)

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We bid the Disney store farewell and walked over to Claire’s (a store that sells accessories, makeup and stuff for Tweens/Teens). We decided to be teenagers again for a bit and just be silly. We tried on flower crowns and looked at all the fun cell phone cases, and random items. Being the eldest, I clearly acted the youngest and silliest of them all, because mischief is my middle name.

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It’s SOOOOO SQUUUUIIISSSSHHHHY!
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Flower Power….(Photo Credit: Elizabeth)
 

Realizing that the rain had passed, we decided we needed to head back to Barnes and Nobles but first, a stop at Starbucks for Elizabeth to finally try out “The Pink Drink”…aka Acai refresher with coconut milk instead of water. I think I might have hooked her on it because she loved it.

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When we got back to the store it seemed like we had missed all the 2pm activities so we decided to chat about books and rummage through the shelves this time with Nicole present. We thought it would be a cool idea to present to our readers our favorite summer reading picks for contemporary YA books. (See the links for our reviews)

Elizabeth’s Picks:  When We Collided, Summer of Sloane and To All The Boys I Loved Before.

Nicole’s Picks:  Love & Gelato, All The Feels and Fangirl.

and I picked: The Museum of Heartbreak, Love Charms and Other Catastrophes, and Wink Poppy Midnight.

IMG_8241We hope that you enjoyed our mini adventure this month, and keep tuned for next month’s (early August) when we’ll be sharing with you a certain end of July magical book release adventure. We can’t wait!

Have you heard or read any of the books mentioned in my post? Did your Barnes and Noble have a Bfest Teen Festival event? What are some of the books you plan to read this summer? Let’s chat!

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Event Recap- The Blue Bunny Books Middle Grade Discussion and Book Signing

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This past Saturday (June 4th, 2016) Elizabeth (dearest bookish bestie and blogger of books at BookYAbber) and I headed off to Dedham, MA on a very bright and somewhat warm afternoon to attend a middle-grade book panel/discussion/signing hosted by The Blue Bunny Books & Toys. The authors in attendance included the following talented ladies:

I was super excited to meet Claire Legrand. We had been recently chatting on Twitter (we both have a lot of love for the show The 100). I also recently finished reading the ARC of Some Kind of Happiness and really needed to have a signed finished copy for my ever growing book collection. I was also curious to experience what The Blue Bunny Books & Toys store was like on inside and out. I clearly have a bunny obsession and I have to say that The Blue Bunny Books & Toys did not disappoint. After having a quick lunch Elizabeth and I arrived at The Blue Bunny around 2:45pm. Just outside the store we were greeted with by a very large blue bunny, and of course we needed to get our picture taken with it.

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As we entered the store we were greeted by cheerful employees working the coffee bar right at the front of the store. They make delicious coffees and teas (I tried an ice White Chocolate Coconut coffee late and it was HEAVEN!). There are bookshelves lined up against the walls, and also a few in the middle of the room. Though the store is small, they have a good variety of everything from picture books to YA novels as well as some toys, art prints and stickers (I LOVE stickers). With coffee and tea in hand, we scoped out were the “panel” area was going to be and picked out seats, but just before the event started and the room started filling up we decided to move to the row of chairs behind us (this will be relevant later).

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Photo Credit/Source: Blue Bunny Books & Toys

The panel was scheduled for 3pm, but it seemed like a few people were late, and apparently so were Jen and MarcyKate due to traffic. Once everyone arrived the panel got started and the room really filled up. Each author took a turn speaking about what their new books. Claire shared with us that her book was really personal to her because she deals with depression and anxiety and those are also things her 11yr old main character is struggling with in the book. I think this is such an important topic to be bringing up in middle-grade books because there are lots of kids out there that have no outlet for dealing with and getting help for what they are feeling and going through. Hopefully, books like Claire’s will help to bring the very real afflictions young kids are dealing front and center and show to these young readers that they are not alone and that it is okay to ask for help.

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After each author talked about their books, they also read one page from their book (chosen by the audience) to give us a taste of their stories. This worked out really well because every page chosen was at a great point in the book and didn’t reveal any major spoilers. Once everyone had a chance to read, the discussion turned to writing and how each author writes and plans out their books. MarcyKate likes the freedom of writing chapters out of order. Jen, Claire, and Dana all like to use outlines and really plan out their stories. When questioned about if they prefer a deadline or not, pretty much everyone agreed that a deadline was best but that taking some time away from writing to think things through or to get inspiration was okay. Jen even confessed that sometimes she watches tv in order to relax and get back in the mood for writing (Dana pointed out that Jen had just given every writer in the room the perfect excuse to get away with watching tv).

The authors also spoke about how long the process of getting published can take, and how many times you have to revise, revise, REVISE! They spoke about how what they thought was going to be their “first” book actually didn’t turn out to be “the book”. It’s really funny how that worked out for all of them since they have all written multiple books but only now do all of them have deals in the works to get their original “brain child” published. Another question that was asked was about where they get their ideas/inspirations from. Jen, Dana, and Claire all seem to agree that using Pinterest to create boards for your character’s likes, dislikes, “what would you buy them for Christmas” etc… such a great writing tip. Claire also creates playlists for her books. Jen gets ideas while bathing and uses AquaNotes (a waterproof pad to use in the shower or while taking a bath). Claire and Dana also suggested using Beat Sheets to keep things going in a flow and chronological. MarcyKate said that sometimes she gets ideas while riding the T (our train system here in Massachusetts). They also enjoy using come kind of online writing space like WattPad, Scrivner, and Save The Cat-Beat Sheets.

I asked a question myself, about if they all wrote stories as children, or what other types of creative outlets did they participate in. Claire said that besides writing, she also played the trumpet and piano. She mentioned that during her teen years she kept a black velvet notebook with roses on it filled with gothy/emo poetry (as did I…lol). MarcyKate also is musically inclined and loves to sing, but has horrible stage fright. She was a strange child (my kind of kid) and wrote a story called “My Last Will and Testament” and another about story about a seal that gets skewered by a narwhal (but it’s more complex than that)…both which sound AWESOME. She mentioned that if a kid wrote something like that these days they might be sent to see the school shrink (I think these should totally be book-shaped stories MarcyKate!). Jen said she wrote for a little bit, but didn’t really pick it up again until an adult (if you don’t count the angsty teen poetry).

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Before the discussion came to an end, Claire did a giveaway an ARC copy of her gorgeous novel FOXHEART being released October 4th, 2016. She told everyone to look under their chairs (she placed a post-it under the lucky winner’s chair and it so happened that it was under Elizabeth’s seat (hence why I mentioned we changed out seats, because if we had not…Elizabeth would not have won the ARC…we had been talking about how it was our mission to win it, somehow, some way). YAY! I know Elizabeth is stoked to read it, and hopefully she will lend it to me once she is done. 🙂

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Once the discussion ended, we both purchased Some Kind of Happiness. I also purchased Ravenous by MarcyKate, which Elizabeth already owned. We got in line to get our lovelies signed and to officially meet Claire in person. It was so very nice to meet her, she is just the sweetest person…(must be that Texas charm of hers). Of course, we gushed about our love for The 100, how we can’t wait for it to return and how the return date feels like it’s so far away. We talked about the beautiful artwork in FOXHEART and about my love of foxes (and bunnies). I told her how much I enjoyed reading Some Kind of Happiness and even managed to squeeze in a little bit of Neil Gaiman into the conversation. (I so hope Claire gets to meet him one day…I think they would get along ). I hope that Claire comes back to Boston for her FOXHEART tour because I would love to see her again.

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It seems like every time we go to an event, Elizabeth and I seem to find cake. Cake magically appears and like moths to the flame…we must get our sweet treats. This time, we found little cupcakes with little flags (with all the different books featured on them). Elizabeth got a cupcake with Ravenous on it, and I got one with Some Kind of Happiness. They were delicious and the perfect way to end our bookish outing. Before heading out, I was able to speak a little with Margie (I believe she is the store manager) and she was kind enough to take a lovely picture of Elizabeth and I with our Some Kind of Happiness books in hand (is that a “Bunny pattern” on my shirt-dress you ask? Why yes it is. I wore it, especially for this trip. I thought it was quite appropriate). Elizabeth and I once again also managed to coordinate our attired without trying…it just happens…like MAGIC. 🙂

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Thank you Margie for taking this picture of us!

A big “Thank You” to Blue Bunny Books & Toys for hosting this wonderful event, and for the cupcakes…(I can’t wait to come back for another visit).

Thank you to all the authors for attending, for sharing all your wonderful stories and writing tips with us, it was truly inspiring and made me want to run home and start writing. A special thank you to Elizabeth for going with me and sharing yet another bookish adventure together. I can’t wait until our next one.

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The Marauders # 3: Harvard Square Shenanigans…and Cupcakes

TheMaraudersWelcome 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”.

This month on The Marauders we decided to stay local and celebrate the birthday of one of the most bookish people we know – our friend Rachel. Rachel is an avid reader, a writer of books and currently head over heels in summer classes for her grad degree . I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of meeting her while at ALAMW (Nicole and Elizabeth already knew her) and I am so happy that I did. Rachel is the type of person that you meet and instantly already like. She is friendly, outgoing and pretty much should run for President because she can befriend just about anyone. Her knowledge of books is amazing and I have never met anyone that can read as fast as she does (and retains the knowledge). Walking into a bookstore is dangerous when accompanied by Rachel. She will have at least 30 recommendations ready to go, she will read passages from favorite books to you in order to convince you to buy it, and literally put book after book into your basket and tell you that “YOU MUST BUY/READ IT!” Publishers should really consider giving this girl a book deal and some type of marketing job because she is a PRO.

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Top Right/Bottom Right and Bottom left Photo Credit: HarvardSquaree.com

Elizabeth, Nicole and I wanted to get together with Rachel for a belated birthday celebration and so we met up in Cambridge for brunch at PARK restaurant and bar. PARK is a personal favorite haunt of mine. It’s an interesting place, located under a garage, and you feel like you are deep in someone’s wine cellar. The decor is a mix of woods, comfy arms chairs, leather banquettes, and cozy nooks. Towards the back is an area with a faux bookcase and smaller tables and couch-like seating. The bar is centered in the room and goes almost a full 360 all the way around and their cocktails are known to be some of the yummiest drinks you will ever have. My personal favorite is called Lavender Moon, and last time we visited I made sure that both Elizabeth and Nicole tried it too. This time around only Nicole and I ordered them, and Elizabeth and Rachel decided to stick to tea. Their menu is fairly simple but filling and delicious. I ordered the Park Patty melt which was scrumptious, especially the shoestring fries. Elizabeth had crispy french toast while Nicole and Rachel both decided to go with the brisket. Of course, brunch conversation was dominated by chatter about books, thoughts on BEA (even though none of us attended this year…we still all followed the tag and pretended we were there) and upcoming book events. Once our tummies were full, we decided to head to the heart of Harvard Square and visit our first bookstore, Curious George.

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Top Left Photo Credit: Nicole Remaining Photos Credit: Harvardsquare.com
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Photo Credit: Nicole

The Curious George bookstore is located right at the center of Harvard Square. It originally opened in 1995 but unfortunately fell on hard times around 2011. Thankfully the store wasn’t destined to disappear and new owners have taken over “the only Curious George store in the world” and have given it new life on April 28th, 2012 (all in attendance at the opening ceremony were given a free banana). Having known the “old” store, the new store was a bit of a change for me. I liked that the old store was jam-packed to the point that you could barely walk around, and I also liked that they kept the basement level for slightly older children. The new store is bright and colorful. It is slightly easier to walk around in and they have organized things nicely. There is an array of stuffed animals, games and books ranging from newborns to some YA. I love the murals on the walls and the little reading areas by the window perfectly sized for wee little ones. Clearly this is no longer just a bookstore, but also a tourist destination as it was packed with people wanting their little piece of the Curious George story to take home with them.

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Not really finding anything to buy this time around, we walked over to the Harvard Book Store (I recently just did a whole feature on them for my Independent bookstore day….you can read it here). The great thing about The Harvard Book Store is that it has both new and old books for sale. The new volumes are located on the main floor, and if you had down to the basement you will find a large room filled with books. If you have the time and patience you can find some really great bargains down here. Besides books, the store also has a large selection of bookmarks, pens, journals and a few other bookish items. Their Children’s/Middle Grade/YA area is tiny (though every inch of it is stuffed with books). I especially love the area with their “gift” or “special” volumes….here you will find classics such as Alice in Wonderland, Anne of Green Gables, or Jane Austen’s books all with beautiful and ornate covers. It was near this area that Nicole pointed out this tiny box and inside were two Peter Rabbit finger puppets….obviously, I had to buy them…my bunny obsession is quite out of hand.

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Photo Credit: Elizabeth

After the Harvard Book Store we wandered over to The Harvard Coop bookstore. It looks and feels very similar to a Barnes and Noble, but they always deny any association. They have a rather large children’s area and a wide selection of YA. Rachel had fun here picking up and posing with all her latest favorites, even her shirt was bookish and makes a perfect point about the trouble with favorite characters dying. The quote on her shirt said “ Eat, Read and Be Merry for tomorrow your favorite characters could be dead”. I feel this way every time I open a George R.R. Martin book, but it applies to so many others…::looks over at The Fault in Our Stars and The Book Thief on my bookshelf and tears up::

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Photo credit: Nicole

After we were through exploring all YA section of the Harvard Coop, we decided it was finally time for cupcakes after all this is suppose to be a birthday celebration. Just around the corner from The Curious George store is a quaint little cupcake shop called Sweet. Here you can find an array of tasty treats, from beautiful cupcakes, colorful full-size cakes, and delicious cookies. We all ordered different cupcakes and sat down to chat and relax from all the walking around we did from bookstore to bookstore. This was the perfect ending to yet another bookish day spent in the company of friends and also a great way to celebrate Rachel’s birthday.

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Happy Birthday Rachel!

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(Belated) Event Recap- Indie Bookstore Day April 30th, 2016

Indie Bookstore day took place on April 30th a delightful day where readers and fellow book lovers were encouraged to flock over to their favorite indie bookstores and support them by buying as many books and bookish items as you could afford or carry.

I met up with my friends Nicole and Rachel early that sunny morning and we started our day by heading over to The Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, MA which used to be a former haunt of mine before I moved to the suburbs. The Harvard Book Store had all sorts of fun activities and promos throughout the day which included treats and coffee, a “shelfie-selfie” station and even an after hours “books in the dark” event which unfortunately we couldn’t stick around for. Before we even crossed their entryway we were greeted with a large banner just outside the store with the question “Why Do You Love Your Local Bookstore?”. There were markers attached to the poster so that anyone who passed by could make a comment and express their bookish love (of course we had to leave our own ).

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We missed the coffee, but we did find all sorts of pretties upon their bookshelves. Of course we headed right to the “exclusive” independent bookstore day display and I picked up a 2 copies of the Neil Gaiman coloring book (one was for Elizabeth who unfortunately could not meet up with us), as well as Kate DiCamillo’s latest MG novel Raymie Nightingale (which was numbered and signed exclusively for this event). We then moved on down to the YA area and scoped out all our favorite new releases, including The Raven King, The Rose and The Dagger, etc…. 

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Though tight and a bit small, their Children’s area is packed with tons of different books. Also lovely to see that there is lots of diversity represented in these books. I spotted my new favorite yet heartbreaking Middle-Grade book Pax by Sara Pennypacker amongst the small and crowded table of new releases.

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At the Harvard Bookstore, they also had this really quirky bookshelf filled with “Blind Date” books, which were wrapped in craft paper and only had quotes or a few sentences about what they were. In my usual “silly/weird” fashion I decided to jokingly ask Rachel to go on a “blind book date”  and Nicole snapped this great picture of us. The look on Rachel’s face was priceless.

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The bookmark/random bookish items wall was such a temptation. I did snag a really cute fox bookmark, but I also really wanted all the cute bookish ornaments but I didn’t get any this time around. The Alice in Wonderland and the mini Dracula ornaments were my favorite.

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Before we made our final purchases and headed off to the next indie bookstore, we wandered downstairs to where they sell used books. The prices low and there are such bargains to be found here! I managed to snag a signed children’s picture book titled A Fine Dessert by Emily Jenkins. I mentioned that I really wanted to start reading more contemporary YA novels and Rachel recommended and basically stuffed into my basket a novel by Lauren Oliver titled Before I Fall

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Upon finalizing our purchases we went back upstairs, paid up and decided to grab some delicious fries at Clover before heading to our next indie bookstore stop. Nicole had to leave us at this point, so it was now just Rachel and I heading to Brookline Booksmith to continue our book buying adventure. One of the best parts once we arrived there was watching Rachel pull about 8 different books off the shelf and state that she absolutely had to have them all (I love this girl…she cracks me up). She also took all the copies of If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo and hugged them.  I managed to limit myself to only one book purchase titled Grim (a tome of several short stories based on fairy tales with a dark twist). I would have probably bought more books (especially because they also have a used books area in their basement) but I had to depart early due to my other plans for that day.

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Overall I was so glad I went out and participated in Independent bookstore Day. I really love having these local bookstores where I can feel “cozy” and at home in. These stores need our support in order to stay “afloat” and keep bringing us book events, author signings, and other fun activities. I hope you will consider participating in Independent Bookstore day next year, and that you will start/continue your patronage all year round too. 

Tell me about your favorite independent bookstores. What is the thing you most like about your indie bookstore? Are they small or large? Do you have more than one indie bookstore in your town/city? Which would you recommend to someone visiting your area? Let’s chat!

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