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Postcards + Passports.


LOST OCEAN: 36 POSTCARDS by Johanna Basford | May, 31, 2016
A HUGE thank-you to Penguin for sending a copy my way!

When I received a copy of this amazing postcard book (Johanna’s incredible artwork has been transformed into a tiny little bite-sized booklet of cards to color!) I knew I wanted to highlight it in a way unlike my typical reviews. This morning I’m bringing to you Postcards + Passports, a look into five* books set in countries I would love to visit!

(* actually six. I do this a lot, don’t I!)

Yeah, yeah, I know – I live here, but America is SO huge and vast that traveling outside your neck of the woods can definitely seem like visiting a separate country! I’ve been telling Matt for years that I want us to travel the Oregon Trail someday, but the part of the US I’d really love to visit is THE SOUTH. Lori Roy’s Let Me Die in His Footsteps takes place in Kentucky and the setting came alive under her pen. It certainly doesn’t hurt matters that there’s a whisper of something otherworldly as well! ALSO, the book is just plain good: it made it to my Top Reads of 2015 list!

SCOTLAND

Wild Wood by Posie Graeme-Evans | my review

While Wild Wood is a dual-era novel (and dual-country novel – the present day story line takes place in England) I found myself preferring the Scotland arc far more: full of magic and legends and mythology that truly evoked the ancient feel that surrounds the country. One of my favorite contemporary peeks into Scotland is Hannah Reed’s fabulous Scottish Highlands mystery series – the village and countryside is the epitome of quaint!

AUSTRIA-HUNGARY

The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki | my review

Okay, so technically I can’t visit this one since it no longer exists, but the detailing in Pataki’s Sisi novels couldn’t be more different than the Scottish countryside! You won’t find any charming, cozy cottages here. Instead it’s all larger-than-life opulence. Palaces, jewels, grand feasts, fancy ballgowns. Who doesn’t love a good princess story (or, in Sisi’s case, a good Empress story?) While her life wasn’t exactly happy, her world was certainly glittering. The Accidental Empress was also a Top Read of 2015!

FRANCE

At the Edge of Summer by Jessica Brockmole | my review

BUT LEAH,you say, THIS IS SET DURING WWI! True! And while a war-torn country might not be a prime tourist destination, Jessica’s storytelling was just so gorgeous and lovely that I couldn’t help but feature it. A lot of France-set novels take place in Paris (Paris is Always a Good Idea, I Always Loved You, and I’ll See You in Paris to name a few!) but this one is set in the countryside which gives it such a different feel than the dripping, effortless elegance of the city. And, spoiler alert, this book will be showing up on my Top Reads of 2016 list! ♥

When I think Australia, I think TERRIFYING ANIMALS, but Cinnamon Girl had my wanderlust going from the very first page! This is another novel set in a small town (apparently I seem to go for countrysides and villages!) and let’s just ignore the whole End of the World bit, okay? Cinnamon Girl is an excellent story on its own, full of heart and a group of friends I want as my own, but the setting truly shines.

BONUS: PITTSBURGH!

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon

And now it’s YOUR chance to visit ME! I first read The Mysteries of Pittsburgh in 2008 and it’s stuck with me ever since. Not only are the characters excellent (and so relateable – dealing with that ‘well what do I do now’ cluelessness after college) but the setting, obvs was spot-on. Because this is my home, I knew exactly where these characters were, and could literally walk in their shoes. Another excellent Pittsburgh book is Judi Barrett’s Pickles to Pittsburgh, which, sadly, has yet to happen :)

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