Novel Destinations Book Review

If I wasn’t already traveling this week, Novel Destinations by Shannon McKenna Schmidt would give me some serious wanderlust. That being said, I might have to plan a literary-themed trip around this book anyway.

Novel Destinations by Shannon McKenna Schmidt
I was given a free copy of Novel Destinations in exchange for this honest review. You can get your own copy at National Geographic!

I was an English major so I feel like I’ve lived in all of the places Novel Destinations explores. From Dickens’ London to Joyce’s Dublin to Lee’s Alabama, I’ve traveled the world through the eyes of different characters. But Schmidt’s book delves even deeper into the worlds the authors immortalized. And since it comes from National Geographic, you know it’s going to be really good.

Part one of Novel Destinations is “Read ‘Em and See: Author Houses and Museums.” You can travel the world and use this as a guide book to all of your favorite literary locales. There are also chapters on literary festivals and tours and places you can stay among the similarly literary minded.

Part two is “Journeys Between the Pages.” You can explore in real life the iconic places you’ve explored only in the pages of your favorite novels. I, for one, loved delving into Jane Austen’s Bath and Franz Kafka’s Prague (side note: a Kafka discussion is the thing that started my relationship with my boyfriend of 4.5 years!).

Bottom line: if you love classic literature and travel, you’re going to want this book on your shelf.

What’s your favorite classic novel?

About Novel Destinations

• Hardcover: 392 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic; 2 edition (May 2, 2017)

Follow in the footsteps of much-loved authors, including Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac, Jane Austen, and many more. For vacationers who crave meaningful trips and unusual locales, cue National Geographic’s Novel Destinations—a guide for bibliophiles to more than 500 literary sites across the United States and Europe. Check into Hemingway’s favorite hotel in Sun Valley, or stroll about Bath’s Royal Crescent while entertaining fantasies of Lizzie Bennett and her Mr. Darcy. The fully revised second edition includes all of the previous sites—with updated locations—plus color images and an expanded section on all things Brontë. The book begins with thematic chapters covering author houses and museums, literary festivals and walking tours. Then, in-depth explorations of authors and places take readers roaming Franz Kafka’s Prague, James Joyce’s Dublin, Louisa May Alcott’s New England, and other locales. Peppered with great reading suggestions and little-known tales of literary gossip, Novel Destinations is a unique travel guide, an attractive gift book, and the ultimate bibliophile’s delight.

Purchase Links

National Geographic Store | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Shannon McKenna Schmidt

Shannon McKenna Schmidt is also the co-author with Joni Rendon of Writers Between the Covers: The Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes, and Cads. After traveling full-time in the U.S. and abroad for seven years, she is once again living in Hoboken, New Jersey. For literary travel news and tales from the road, visit www.NovelDestinations.com.

Bai Tide Book Review

Bai Tide was a welcome and pleasant surprise. I love TV shows like Quantico and Criminal Minds. I’m just a sucker for a good crime or spy story. I’m also a sucker for stories that feature people who aren’t white dudes.

The main character in Bai Tide is a man with Chinese ancestry and most of the other important characters are Asian too. It was honestly a breath of fresh air to read, especially since I recently tried to watch Iron Fist on Netflix and was disgusted by it (it was just yet another story about a white dude who learned kung-fu).

Bai Tide by Erika Mitchell

Back to Bai Tide, which I received from TLC Book Tours and the author for this review. Here’s the description of the book from the publisher:

An espionage thriller for people who like explosions and sarcasm.

CIA case officer Bai Hsu is stationed in San Diego, where his job is to safeguard the valuable emotional collateral of some of the world’s most powerful people (read: their kids). Just when he thinks he’s landed the easiest assignment of all time, an operative starts targeting the school and it’s up to Bai to figure out who the operative is after, and why. This fast-paced story will take you from the picturesque beaches of San Diego to a deadly blizzard in Pyongyang and make Bai question everything he thought he knew about working in the field, and about himself.”

Sounds good, right? I didn’t a chance to read that description before I read the book, so it took me completely by surprise when they went to North Korea. But I didn’t need the description to get me hooked. Erika Mitchell writes Bai with such a clear voice that I felt like I knew him instantly and I was drawn in by his personality and the intrigue of his job.

My favorite part of the book is that the people Bai teams up with on his missions are women. They’re both great fighters and spies and I just love it when women get to kick butt too.

I also loved how Mitchell handled writing the section of the book that takes place in North Korea. It’s so easy to make fun of North Korea or to make light of the situation over there, but I think she painted a real picture of it. There was nothing to suggest that she was making fun of the country; on the contrary, it seemed like she was trying to do the country justice.

Bai Tide is a quick read at under 300 pages and it’s perfect if you love crime TV and movies like I do.

I can’t wait for the sequel Take the Bai Road comes out July 3rd, 2017! Keep scrolling to read more praise for Bai Tide and find out where you can buy your own copy.

 

About Bai Tide

• Paperback: 244 pages
• Publisher: Champagne Books; First Edition edition (April 5, 2015)

Praise for Bai Tide

Bai Tide is a classic spy tale with blisteringly original characters set against the up-tempo backdrop of North Korean-American relations. Erika Mitchell turns the Asian theater of operations into her personal literary playground for fashioning a no-holds-barred thriller that reads like a post-modern combination of Frederick Forsyth and John Le Carre with just enough Len Deighton sprinkled in for good measure. A thinking man’s, or woman’s, page turner that revs in the red from artful beginning to crafty climax.” –Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of Strong Darkness

“High octane action combined with the slow burn of great, unforgettable characters. The kind of book that demands to be read in a single long burst. Almost impossible to put down. This one will be on your mind long after you’ve finished it.” –Ted Kosmatka, 2010 Asimov’s Readers’ Choice Award-winning author of Prophet of Bones.

“Recommended for those who enjoy a fast-paced thriller, and especially for anyone who read and enjoyed Blood Money. Mitchell does a wonderful job of balancing the humanity of the story with exactly the right pacing to keep the reader’s interest.” —Dwell in Possibility

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

erika-mitchell-author-photoAbout Erika Mitchell

Erika Mitchell is the author of Blood Money, a standalone novel about one accountant’s efforts to take down a terrorism financier, and Bai Tide, the first book in her Bai Hsu series. Erika uses her lifelong passion for espionage to infuse her stories with the fun and intrigue of the James Bond movies she grew up watching, and sets those stories in ripped-from-the-headlines locations around the globe. When she’s not writing, she’s raising two tiny spies-in-training with her husband in Seattle, WA.

Find out more about Erika at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. You can also read her blog at parsingnonsense.com.

TLC Book Tours

Signs & Seasons Review

Hey girl, what’s your sign?

I’m a Libra. I’m not sure I believe all astrology things. To be honest, when I got my copy of Signs & Seasons from TLC Book Tours, I laughed at the title. I like the idea of the Zodiac and I definitely identify with Libra qualities and I think reading my horoscope is fun. But I don’t think I would’ve bought this book if I saw it in the store.

Signs & Seasons

However, this book did fall into my lap at the right time. I’ve been trying to cook more so it’s perfect timing to review a cookbook.

The book is organized by season and each recipe is labeled by sign. There’s also a chapter called “How Each Sign Eats, Cooks, and Entertains.” Since I’m a Libra, I was most interested in those sections and recipes.