travel tails feature with rather be reading, alexa loves books, and novel sounds

Travel Tales: Setting the Scene

travel tails feature with rather be reading, alexa loves books, and novel sounds

Welcome to our first official post in the TRAVEL TALES event we are hosting with Elena from Novel Sounds and Alexa from Alexa Loves Books! This is where we make each other completely depressed, daydreaming about places we want to visit in books but can’t — whether it’s because of time, that green stuff, or the place doesn’t really exist. Seriously, though, settings are pretty essential to every novel ever written and it’s interesting why and when we connect to the ones we do. Magan and I decided to raid our bookshelves for books that contain illuminating settings for one reason or another! Enjoy!


Moonglass by Jessi Kirby, Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers, The Hidden Staircase by Nancy Drew

1. Moonglass by Jessi Kirby (Goodreads) Ah. This book features so beautiful settings like the beach where Anna and her dad move to in first pages of the book. Anna is a runner and I love that she has the freedom to run on the shoreline. Kirby also injects a mystical element to this book as Anna begins to remember some things about her deceased mom and their shared love of roaming the beach. I’m a sucker for a good beach setting because it’s probably where I love to be the most. Kirby lives near the beach and you can tell she just understands it.

2. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers (Goodreads) I used to love this series when I was a kid, and I’ve been dying to read them again. I’m also a huge fan of the Julie Andrews movie, but the book more closely resembles the stage show. Mary isn’t actually all peaches and cream but I do love the adventures she takes her charges on in these pages. Who doesn’t want to jump into a gorgeous and colorful chalk painting? I’m a huge fan of London and I’m dying to go back (maybe for my 30th birthday?) and this is my imaginative portal to that spot.

3. Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene (Goodreads) I’ve written about the little Estelle fun fact I’m about to tell you many times during my creative writing classes. When I was young and my parents had a condo at our favorite beach (you may know it… it’s the setting of Jersey Shore… sadface) I used to stay up really late reading. Not a surprise, huh? But I would only take out Nancy Drew books and read them against the lights of the boardwalk. (My sister and I shared a room and she was always sleeping before me.) There used to be a log flume at one of the farther piers that would spell l-o-g-f-l-u-m-e over and over again as I crawled into Nancy’s mysteries and tried to help her solve them. If you are a friend of Nancy you know she always went wherever she was needed, but as for me, I was in a safe place, an ocean breeze wafting through my large window, and content.


great settings in books - cinder by marisa meyer, second chance summer by morgan matson, throne of glass by sarah j maas

1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Goodreads): “Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.” — I absolutely loved escaping in Cinder. Set in the future, the technological enhancements — portscreens (I picture much like iPads), hovers (I imagined to be a floating taxi system), androids (robots!) — left me fascinated. Cinder is a girl with a metal arm and foot. How is that possible?! Meyer definitely made everything seem real and alive for me. I wondered what our future world will be like and if any of Meyer’s imaginative concepts would come to life.

2. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (Goodreads): “A thousand moments that I had just taken for granted- mostly because I had assumed that there would be a thousand more.” Moments. That’s what ALL of Second Chance Summer felt like to me. Beautifully described scenes. A town that felt alive and tangible to me. A road I was desperate to speed down carelessly (on a bike – not in car). I could taste the coconut ice cream and smell the sugary sweet scent drifting from Henry’s dad’s bakery. Every single thing about SCS was alive for me. Matson completely set the scene and pulled me into the Edwards family. (By the way — if this town exists, I want to go there for real.)

3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Goodreads): “Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.” Until I read Throne of Glass, I had forgotten how much I enjoy the world of castles and kings. I wanted the opportunity to (freely) explore the glass castle. Despite Celaena spending the majority of her time (according to Chaol and Prince Dorian’s knowledge) barricaded in her room, I had a complete understanding of the intricacies of the castle. I could picture the splattered blood after the murders and my skin prickled when I ventured with Celaena into creepy dark places.

jet off to:

Elena wants to go to Hogwarts. (Who doesn’t?!)
Alexa celebrates a birthday & hosts a giveaway! (What a sweetheart!)
Alexa also features just HOW we can get to our favorite destinations. (Such a creative post!)


9 thoughts on “Travel Tales: Setting the Scene

  1. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    Oh yes to Crystal Cove! Jessi Kirby told me next time I’m in Cali she’d take me on a personal tour… I say we all make this happen 🙂 haha

    Cousins Beach from The Summer I Turned Pretty is another beach type setting I’ve always wanted to visit; however, it’s not real 🙁 I know, so sad.

    I am DYING to see this glass castle that’s mentioned in Throne of Glass. Eeeeep!

  2. Tara @ Hobbitsies says:

    That logo is awesome, FYI.

    Estelle – I am a NANCY DREW FANGIRL. I love love your inclusion of Nancy Drew on this list! I am totally with you – sometimes thinking of books and their settings really just reminds me where I was when I read them!

    Magan – dude, Second Chance Summer. What a vividly beautiful book. I loved how Morgan Matson described the flags that would be waved on each pier – that stands out to me so much!

  3. Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books says:

    Hooray for traveling through books! I think it’s great how we can visit new places, even when we’re stuck at home or at work or on the subway.

    I love all the settings that you guys mentioned in your post! For the ones I’ve read (Cinder, Nancy Drew & Throne of Glass), I would definitely be interested in checking out some of the places mentioned in those books. And for the ones I haven’t, they sound SO GOOD. I really need to get on with reading those books!

  4. Roxy says:

    Ooh I love all the books you have mentioned. I actually read Moonglass on the beach and I felt so connected with the book and when I was younger I always, always read Nancy Drew. No matter what. As for Second Chance Summer, I’m reading that right now. It’s amazing! I always love Morgan Matson’s books! 🙂

  5. Leah @ The Pretty Good Gatsby says:

    So I’ve adored the other girls’ posts and this one is no exception. I’m loving this idea. 🙂

    Estelle – Somehow I made it out of childhood without reading Mary Poppins! It’s always been a book I felt I should read (& I certainly know enough people who swear by it), but it’s never been a top priority for me unfortunately. It wasn’t until the Olympics that my interest in it resurfaced. Thankfully I work in a bookstore and can easily get my hands on a copy.

    Oh, Nancy Drew. ♥ Unlike Mary Poppins (which I didn’t even know was a SERIES!!), Nancy Drew is very familiar to me and was a massive part of my childhood. I couldn’t wait to get home from school everyday and curl up with another Nancy Drew book. Despite the sheer number of books, I’ve been wanting to go back and reread the series.

    Magan – Oh my gosh Cinder. That’s my go-to recommendation at work (I’ve even pushed it on a few coworkers :)).

    I’m SO excited for Throne of Glass! I have yet to see a single negative thing said about this book.

  6. Kristen Evey says:

    Oh, these are so fun! Out of these I’ve only read Mary Poppins (um, yes please let’s jump into chalk drawings and go on awesome adventures!) and Nancy Drew. From the setting descriptions of the others I want to read them too, especially Cinder and Throne of Glass. 🙂

  7. Randi M says:

    I’ve read Cinder and many many Nancy Drew books out of these, but I completely concur with visiting London and any kind of castles. I’ve been meaning to read Second Chance Summer, and I think a lake would be a nice place to spend the summer, even though the reason her family’s there is a heartbreaking one.

    Great post, ladies! 🙂

  8. elena says:

    Love the way you formatted this post! I’ve never read the Mary Poppins series but it sounds like fun. Hooray for adventure. Your Nancy Drew story is so great, Estelle! I used to be OBSESSED with that series and remember being baffled when they ‘upgraded’ her and made her 17! I totally agree with all your picks, Magan! I would love to visit the castle in ToG and yesss to ice cream in Second Chance Summer.

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